Thoughts about the horse meat saga

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Adrian Lazell is, like all of us, a consumer of food. Here he talks about the disservice done to our growers by the processes that take food to market.

We knew the hunchback in the car park was Richard III after the carbon dating revealed evidence of his diet – essentially fish. Meat too, but horse – maybe not. They were valuable then, worth a kingdom.

Now we feign shock at being fed horse disguised as beef – though if no one had said would we have noticed? Which of us asked, ‘are you sure this is beef, it tastes a little equine to me’?

The French, who know a little more about cuisine than us, are happy to eat horse. Our objection isn’t on taste. It derives from the Disneyfication of our lives, such as using meerkats to sell insurance.

There is a bigger problem. Something is rotten in our supermarkets, or rather with the processes which take our food there. We have fantastic farms in this country and underrated produce. But it is grown under the shadow of retailers who use their commercial clout to demand straighter carrots, rounder potatoes and cheaper chickens. Milk is sold at barely break even prices. If shoppers knew the pressures placed on farmers by supermarkets; if they realised that paying a few pence more would mean tastier food; if they understood how much good food gets wasted, they might rebel. They might even try a farmer’s market. There’s one in Spalding the first Saturday of each month. Try it – you’ll find quality misshapen vegetables. And perhaps some freshly minced horse, correctly labelled of course.