May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Elliot Furniss
Thursday, February 14, 2013
FOOD campaigner Lady Caroline Cranbrook has called for a Europe-wide inquiry into the escalating horsemeat scandal.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson hinted last night that investigations by UK food safety authorities may lead to further raids, following action at an abattoir in West Yorkshire and a Welsh processing plant on Tuesday.
Now Lady Cranbrook, who supports food producers, suppliers and retailers across the county, says the focus should be on the European meat industry and that organisations like the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) were not powerful enough to investigate the issue on their own.
She said: “Meat is not an appropriate food to be treated as a commodity over long distances because you lose track of it. It’s so complicated - the horse situation is one thing but what else is going into it (some processed meat products)?
“It makes a mockery of what farmers have to do in the UK. We have an elaborate and highly sophisticated animal identification system - and yet we have this going into our food.
“When you are being told you are buying value meat, there is no value in it - yes it’s cheap but it should be cheap.
“We really need to have an inquiry into the whole meat industry in the EU. It isn’t any one country or sector that can look at this - you can’t expect the FSA or NFU to have the facilities to take this down.”
Lady Cranbrook said she knew butchers were already benefiting from people seeking more reliably-sourced products. She also said it was an opportunity to focus on teaching people to prepare meals using fresh ingredients.
Butchers in Ipswich have seen an increase in the number of customers seeking burgers and sausages from trusted local sources.
George Debman, owner of Debman Butchers in Cliff Lane, said: “It’s definitely had an impact, we’re seeing more people come through the door.”