Ireland probably has one of the most robust systems for inspecting food in the world. It has been investigating frozen beef burgers and has found that in one case the beef burgers contained 29% horsemeat. In many cases there were traces of horsemeat and traces of pork, although these traces have been found by examining DNA and are almost certainly “de minimus”.
This news will certainly cause a great deal of concern to many people, who think that it is fundamental that they should know what they eat. Knowing what you eat is theoretically entirely within your control. If you like beef burgers you can pop along to the butchers and buy some keep, mince it up yourself with the ingredients that you have bought or made, and then cook it. However what is theoretically possible is not always practical.
If you work you might not have enough time to make your own beef burgers and as such will buy frozen ones. If you have little money you will buy the cheapest ones you find, to fill your empty stomach. You will probably eat more of them than you need, because the comfort factor, and possibly the addiction factor that relates to very cheap food.
It is easy to blame the supermarkets. I am no admirer of those institutions and they should take some of the blame. They react to what people want, and what people want is cheap food, but they also condition their customers into buying more food than the customer needs, and buying food which is unhealthily high in trans- fats, salts and sugars. In buying cheap food they also buy nasty food.
Ultimately, you put food into your mouth, and not the supermarket. You have to assume that the supermarket is untrustworthy, and make your own buying decisions, buying less food (nearly all of us are overweight anyway) and by buying food of high quality.
What food we buy has a massive environmental impact. Recently the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has reported that as much as half the food produced is wasted. Wasted food usually ends up in landfill where, as it composes releases methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a highly toxic greenhouse gas.
In the developed world supermarket “BOGOF” offers contribute greatly to food waste as do short dated “best before” information and this leads to much food being thrown away in its packaging, never used. Perhaps when we visit a supermarket we should cut out the middle man for much of our shopping and simply burn the money instead of buying so much food. It would, in the long run, be better for the environment.