The horse meat scandal rocked the world when news broke that people had been consuming horse meat, when beef was listed as the primary ingredient. Today, the Chief Executive of Asda, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets (owned by Walmart), claimed it had nothing to do with price – it was just people acting illegally.
What a load of horse manure!
Price is exactly why meat farmers were misleading customers and it was a wide spread problem. At first, the Brits took the morale high ground and blamed other EU countries for their poor quality standards, until it became evident we were just as guilty.
My View on the Scandal
For years the major supermarkets have been squeezing the margins of food producers around the world. This meant either the farmer had to work harder and grow more produce or reduce their quality. In recent years the situation has become so extreme that supermarkets have been threatened with a boycott from farmers. Fair trade has been brought in to help producers receive a fair proportion of the ‘cake’.
However, when fair trade bananas are placed next to the non-branded options – which are 40% cheaper – people will often go for the cheaper option. The same can be said for meat. The producers of meat must have realised they couldn’t provide beef at the prices they were being asked and found an alternative substitute which was 1/3rd of the cost.
So, who can we blame? The supermarket for trying to keep their purchases low and their profits high? The consumer for always purchasing the lowest priced product? The producers of the product for their lying and deceit?
It’s all our fault. Greedy supermarkets forced the prices down to remain competitive because consumers will switch supermarket otherwise and if producers don’t lower their prices they won’t retain the work.
But, it’s not just food. We shop in Primark where cotton T-shirts are £2. Are any of us under any illusions that we’re wearing clothes which have probably been made under horrendous working conditions in other countries where people can exploited?
Horse Meat Neigh Mare!
We can’t change the situation but we can learn from it. Horse meat won’t be on the menu from now on – food standards agencies will see to that. However, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to what’s going on elsewhere. I’m all for saving money, but not at the expense of others who live in other parts of the world or people who are being squeezed financially to maximise the profits of the supermarkets.
I know that nothing will change.
But, it doesn’t make the situation right and when the UKs largest supermarket is making £1.6bn PROFIT in 6 months it should shock you too.