Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Horse meat is David Cameron's mad cow disease.

Queueing for a burger
I saw this heading in one of the tabloids yesterday and couldn't believe the absurdity of it. Indeed therer were many questions at PMQs today on the subject which makes me wonder - aren't there more important things to worry about?

The BSE scare in the 90s was the result of poor standards, and (if I remember the Tomorrow's world report properly) caused by the Sheep disease scrapie which was potentially past to cows.

I freely admit my science on that is almost two decades old though!

There were cases of humans catching and dying from BSE or CJD. British agriculture, which was always proud of British beef, took a serious knock and other countries like Argentina quickly took up the cheap but clean beef exports.

For the government, as well as the general public it was a serious concern. Who knew what an infected cow looked like? How many of us had eaten a bad beef dinner? Anyone could have a potentially deadly brain disease - there was a mild undertone of concern bordering on panic in some people.

Fast forward twenty years...

Horse meat has somehow slipped into minced beef/lamb.

Now, I know this is bad and somewhere down the line someone has either messed up or intentionally lied to supermarkets but let's keep some perspective.

Horse is edible.

I'd never knowingly eat one, short of a starvation/war scenario but the simple fact is that it is not harmful.

Minced meat, burger meat and sausages are made up from the off cuts and waste meat like offal and cartilage anyway but we all still eat them. If we start analysing what our food is would we still eat it?

The simple fact of the matter is that at some point we've all eaten horse instead of cow. It is unfortunate but there it is. No one is going to die from it, there is no medical consequences so let's calm the panic and faux outrage. Let's look at the suppliers and await the investigation and legislate so this doesn't happen again.


  1. I fully understand what you are saying but CJD is still out there and people are still dying from it in this country, with a very nice coverup going on about how many and where they are getting from! If there is horse/donkey meat in our foods then how sure can we be about whether other contaminated meat has/is going into our foods?

    1. That is a very fair point, one that the media have really failed to raise.

      I completely agree with you on that, the FSA need to make a very thorough investigation.