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Another UK meat scandal

A recent report by the UK Food Standards Agency has revealed worrying information about what consumers might actually be buying in the meat aisle of their local supermarket. It appears that the labels on as many as one in six products might be lying about the contents of the packets.

69 tests were carried out between June 2018 and May 2019. 12 of those tests showed that the packets contained “unspecified meat or DNA species not declared on the label”.

In some cases the products were simply contaminated, such as pork sausages that also contained beef or lamb, but in others the labels were completely wrong, such as lamb kebabs completely devoid of lamb, or packets of ham that contained no ham.

The problem of meat mis-labelling arose around six years ago when it was revealed that horse and donkey meat was getting into the human food chain, but it had been thought by most people that this situation had been resolved and all was now well. Apparently, that is not the case.

The blame is being laid at the doors not only of food suppliers who are cheating their customers, but the government, whose cutbacks to local government budgets has made it far more difficult for food inspectors, employed by local councils, to do their job thoroughly enough.

This is not a problem that affects me directly, because I never eat meat anyway, but I can easily see that it would be a concern for many people, because you need to be certain that you actually eating what you have been told you are getting. It might be particularly concerning for people with religious dietary requirements, or people with allergies to specific meat products.

What do you think?

  • Does this story shock you?

    • Yes
    • No
  • A slightly different question – does this story surprise you?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Would it be OK with you if you were told that your pork sausages also contained beef?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you blame government cutbacks for this problem?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

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9 Comments

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  1. It does happen, I’m more concern if someone is allergic to something (not on label) rather than any religious purpose. If you don’t do it intentionally, I think you shouldn’t be blamed.

    • There was a bad case some months ago in the UK when a girl died because a sandwich sold at Pret a Manger was not properly labelled. However, I’m not aware of allergies to specific meats – but it could be possible.

  2. I suspect the number and amount of product that are produced that do not meet the standards set by the governments of the world, a sad commentary on the reality of where our world is today.

    The Muckrakes (US Journalists at the turn of the 20th century) caused the creation of the USDA because of for the most part virtually the same problem you are describing happening today 120 years later.

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