Tuesday 12 February 2013

Who Will Be The First To Market Horse Meat Openly In The UK?

The horse meat scandal keeps rumbling on, I see.

There seems to be one aspect, though, which appears to have been mostly avoided in all the coverage I have read, seen or heard. That being the legality of horse meat being sold in the UK.

We've heard many a statement along the lines of "there is no safety issue" which could be translated as "it's OK, bovines, we've been scaring you about food for years but this isn't the apocalypse we've been priming you to panic about", but unless I missed it no-one is saying that horse meat sales in the UK are illegal. Considering it is freely available in France and Belgium, and we are part of this huge 27 nation conglomerate of homogenous legislation, I am guessing there is no bar on selling horse meat in this country.

What a business opportunity for one of our more risk-comfortable food entrepreneurs, then eh?

Being in business myself, our office did jovially kick around a hypothetical scenario whereby we could take the 350,000 horse meat lasagnes off of Findus's hands and make a quick profit on resale elsewhere but - transport problems aside as we are well sorted there - it was the doubtless endless other EU regulations which would make the deal impossible.

Business Week have asked the question "what's so bad about horse meat anyway?" only to be met with the most hysterical of answers.
People have such strong views on eating horses as an ethical issue.
Well, how about eating babies? 
But that’s so different.
There you go. You don’t think horses are like babies, but maybe some people do. How about dogs?
Dogs, you say? I remember writing about that once.

So is it merely repugnance which stops horse meat being sold in this country? Well, that should be far less of an obstruction now that horse meat has been debated to destruction in the media lately.

Even a BBC Radio 5 phone-in a week or so ago - where you'd expect much tear-soaked 'think of poor old Dobbin' kind of argument - was mostly populated by objections from those angry about intensive agriculture and packaging methods rather than an abhorrence for horses being sold for human consumption. Almost without exception, the (middle class and firmly righteous Labour) callers had all travelled the world and tasted horse meat themselves with no objection. Most even stated that it was very tasty, it was just the labelling from those nasty Big Food companies they despised.

It's also extremely good for health compared with our usual fare, which we are all told is the most important thing in the world nowadays.

Curiosity about horse meat has been cranked up to eleven by all this publicity. The advertising has been paid for by others, all that's needed now is for a business to step in, start selling horse meat nationally and reap the profits. Even if the first take-up is a small provincial butcher, the media attention will be huge and he/she is guaranteed to sell out.

Some opposed to the idea have been clever enough to sense a threat, with a Facebook group already set up to stop horse meat sales which aren't happening yet. They should do soon, though, or else I'd be getting worried about the British entrepreneurial spirit which has helped us to punch above our relative tiny size on the global markets for centuries.

A gastro-pub around five miles from Puddlecoteville lists kangaroo steak as a staple menu item. No-one appears too bothered as it has been consumed happily there for at least three years - apart from meerkat or penguin, there can't be too many more cutesy overseas animals. So I don't see too much of a problem with horse, merely an opportunity for the person or company brave enough to speculate to accumulate.

So who will be first to market horse? And, more importantly for me on a personal level, who will go on to sell prime Romanian donkey as I haven't tried that yet.


George Speller said...

I'm very fond of a nice piece of sirlion.

adamskirving said...

Try here:


Dick_Puddlecote said...

Crackin'. Roll on the day it's available at Sainsbury's deli counter. ;)

moonrakin said...

My doctor told me to watch what I eat - so, I went and bought some tickets for The Grand National

Mark Wadsworth said...


Carpe Zytha said...

You can buy horse meat in the UK but it is a specialist product


personally I recommend the horse bacon from the pferdmetzger in the Viktualianmarkt near Marianplatz Munich, but that's just my personal taste. It makes for a peculiar but not unpleasant fruhstuck (breakfast) when ate with the local breads and cheeses and washed down with a weissbier.

But then the issue really isn't about horse meat, it is about food fraud & the ability to sell any old crap so long as it is processed. My old gran used to tell us to never touch burgers and ensure we saw the mince ground in the butchers shop. She also never trusted banks. We used to think the old dear was a tad eccentric. Turns out she was more clued up than I gave her credit for

Yvonne said...

Eating horse was common during the WWII and I imagine other less affluent times.