Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Horsemeat Debacle Continues

With the horse-meat scandal becoming exposed in many more countries each day and the British government's attitude being somewhat woolly I was interested to read the following blog link that was sent to me today;http://www.howlatthemoon.org.uk/index.php?p=1_67 .
I think it sums up the situation very well.
As farmers we have been aware that the  Red Tractor scheme had flaws but when some years ago the Farmer spoke to the NFU about what the Red Tractor did not do he was told not to make a fuss , that they were trying their best & it was better than nothing. In other words they were keeping their heads down to avoid having to make the scheme actually do what they wanted the consumers to believe it did.
Once again it all comes down to buying locally from your high street butcher who should be able to tell you from which farm he buys his carcases and not to put any trust in the supermarkets who are only after profits by any means and definitely to avoid any processed 'ready' meals.
Buy Local! Buy Organic!

Also see

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Portents of Spring, Horse-meat & Red Tractor Assurance

Mid-February and we have a good showing of snowdrops in the hedge banks and even a few primroses peering out from undergrowth. Spring is on its way though apparently snow is forecast for the weekend. Not just the small hedgerow flowers are beginning to appear but tiny green leaf buds are emerging on many plants and there are catkins on the willows. My witchhazel is rich with glorious acid-yellow tassles and the hellebores are coming to flower with their exotic plum-purple flowers as well the beautiful whites. Daffodils are shooting up everywhere and the buds are filling out with the promise of the golden glories to come.
Blackbirds are beginning to sing and robins are everywhere with their cheerful spring song and their curiosity brings them to investigate any activity around the gardens.

Over the past couple of weeks the farmimg community has been rocked by the scandal of horse-meat being passed off as beef by a number of manufacturers of ready-meals. As farmers amd meat producers we have been under very strict regulation for many years as to how we rear our livestock  and revelations of this scandal undermine much that has been done to build consumer confidence in the food supply chain. The Red Tractor logo scheme (though not without its imperfections)  is a set of standards that British farmers work to and with any luck this whole business will be an opportunity to promote British standards of production and should help promote organic farming to a wider consumer group.
The whole issue is not about farming or the production of beef in this country but about supermarket greed.  The supermarkets drive down prices and thereby there is drop in quality. While I do not have a problem with eating horse-meat per se the problem is that horses can be injected with any number of drugs for what ever reason that do not have a withdrawal period as the animals are not intended to enter the food chain. Therefore the meat may well contain residues of these drugs; in fact a number of samples have been found to contain bute (phenylbutazone) which can be harmful to humans.
 One good thing that should come out of it all is that the high street butchers will see an increase in business as people try to find good quality meat from a known source. Any good butcher should be able to tell his customers where his meat has been reared and slaughtered.
This is going to rumble on for along time yet as there are now suggestions that pork & chicken products may be investigated.
Go to your local butcher! Eat organic!