TONY DIVER: What’s on the menu?

Columnist Tony Diver ANL-140328-091912001
Columnist Tony Diver ANL-140328-091912001
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You can lead a horse to water, so they say, but you can’t mince it up, disguise it as beef and sell it to Tesco in a Findus lasagne. The fake food scandal has waved its ugly, undetermined body part at us yet again– this time in the chilling light of a West Yorkshire investigation. The food industry, it seems, is cooked

The horse meat scandal, we know, had a huge public profile, even when there was actually nothing harmful in the meat, per se. It’s now been revealed that in smaller shops with an incentive to stock cheap and unregulated foods, the contaminants are much more shocking. Amongst the worst examples were vodka with industrial antifreeze ingredients and ‘brominated’ vegetable oil, used in flame retardants.

Government restrictions on council budgets have been partially responsible for the drop in standards, the investigation said, making it more difficult to regulate on limited funds. Food safety is something that affects us all, and the reputation of the food industry shouldn’t be damaged as a result of suppliers that don’t conform to the rules.

It’s also worth noting that Bury’s Premier Foods’ products were not pulled up in the investigation, an encouragement for the business, and that the ‘false’ food was mostly in independent retailers. Many large food retailers conduct their own checks on food safety to try to avoid this sort of problem – Tesco was not the culprit this time.

Without wanting to get too political, it’s fascinating that the government can find money to pay to clean out Douglas Hogg MP’s moat, but are at the same time slashing council budgets to investigate food fraud. Something more should be done to keep the dinner on our plates safe.