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The mafia used to put horses heads in your bed. Now it’s your lasagne.
To those in Britain and probably America, it cannot have escaped your attention about the processed meat scandal that is sweeping Europe. It may yet be seen to affect American imports. It is a commercial morality tale for our days.
How the hell did this happen and where the heck did all the damn horse meat come from? Here is my take.
First you remove regulation and oversight for reasons of globalisation and laissez faire economic policy, and add in the idea that markets without borders, (and large corporations who wish to make yet more money) work best left alone.
Next, you have a well meaning regulation with unexpected consequences. Romania is a new member of the European Union. It has an image problem of being poor and ignorant and backward. The tourist industry pushing views of toothless wrinkled rural tranquillity and horse-drawn vehicles on unpaved roads, has only confirmed people’s worst suspicions of the Balkans. So the government decided that they could deal with this, in part, by a new law banning horse and donkey drawn vehicles and carts. This led immediately to a huge number of redundant horses and donkeys. These are then killed off leaving the problem of how to flog a dead horse.
Third you employ a financial model borrowed from America. Horsemeat has a poor value overall, especially these worked-out old nags. It is for sentimental reasons unacceptable to sell horseflesh in Britain. It is if you like “sub-prime”. So the first purchasers (whoever they might be – local Romanian mafia or whatever) buy up lots of horses cheaply, and then like the American mortgage companies and banks they slice and dice the product, combining it with finer cuts for combination in packets of meat produce which are then sold on through a series of traders until no one has a clue what they are buying. Eventually they get plain greedy and sell the product unmixed. Finally the meat processing companies who make the frozen meals like Findus, and the chains like ASDA (part of Wall Mart), ALDI, Tesco and Burger King who fight like dogs for the lowest priced supplies end up with the adulterated produce in their meals. 100% horse lasagne.
Copyright David Macadam 2013