Friday, January 18, 2013

Flogging a dead horse

Food waste crime scene
Best horse burger joke so far: Tesco has been flogging a dead horse.  Seriously though what grieves me is the food waste issue. In Ireland (and UK for all I know) they're going to bin thousands of perfectly good burgers just for containing horse meat. Yes mislabelling them is a crime - but throwing them away is a crime too.

And I know we can debate that perfectly good bit ... deeply substandard is nearer the mark. But it's not the horse meat that makes them substandard. Some Irish charity leaders have asked for the burgers to be donated to them. The official line however from Ireland's poverty charity St Vincent de Paul (SVP), in a statement in today’s Irish Times, dissents: “Food poverty is an important issue and one which the SVP has actively sought to highlight. But the SVP nationally does not ask for the distribution of the beef burgers withdrawn from sale to be directed to charities. We do not believe that it is a feasible option in terms of the nature of the product or the logistics in its redistribution.”

If it's true the burgers pose no health risk, which the authorities claim, then the shops ought to put them on sale at a knock down rate with the rubric “These burgers may contain horse”. At the right price they would sell like hot cakes.  If I was king there would be a food waste law to enforce this sort of thing.

(PS: if the horse meat got in there illegally how can the environmental health inspectors be so sure about no health risk? Seeing as they weren't there at the time to check it's not dead racehorses full of noxious chemicals? Still they do seem to be sure.)

Links: a food waste blog in the London Independent last week before the horseburger story broke, and a piece about freegans I wrote 16 months ago .

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