As most people will be aware there was a terrible scandal in the UK a couple of weeks ago when horse meat was found in some burgers, as a previous FMCG Engineer it was a struggle to keep out of the debate but I can desist no more. The issue was brought back to me this morning when the news reported that the source was Polish meat, who made this proclamation? The Irish government of course, the very country that was held responsible previously.
Firstly lets be very clear about horse meat, it is not disgusting, it is fit for human consumption it is simply a food that we don’t tend to eat in England. The reason we don’t eat it in England but the French eat it by the ton is nothing to do with taste, texture or calorific value, I venture that it is simply that Frenchmen stand up to their women! I know this sounds offensive but seriously the only reason we don’t eat horse is because English females are obsessed by the animals and their angry words send most men cowering.
Now to the crux of the issue, horse DNA was found in some ‘value’ burgers, what’s wrong with that sentence? Firstly why DNA? Well that’s because the contents of your burger are so finely ground as to be unrecognisable to any other branch of science, really your meal needs a team of forensic scientists to confirm its origins. The second issue is the word value, this has been stolen from the general English language by the supermarkets and we have been conditioned to believe it is simply good value food, no frills, simple packaging in fact it’s all about the product. Wake up people this is not the case, value means junk, Iceland* means rubbish.
You know when you but a wholesome meal that requires 2 minutes in the microwave for £1 its garbage. Iceland are so adept at peddling this junk that their prices are adjusted for the moronic masses, so the family budget for evening meals becomes a £1 ‘ding’**meal per child and even ‘mums’ who left school at 12 can do that maths.
So onwards to the burgers, these processed pink patties that cost 6 pence each. Consumers are outraged that they contain horse, that’s probably more meat than they have ever contained in the past! Do these people ever read the ingredients? Mechanically recovered meat is not a robot arm using a knife, its jet washers and washing machine drum skimmers to collect the bits that get sluiced away its eyelids that have had the lashes scorched off. But nobody asks, nobody wants to know and when the truth is splashed over the red tops people are furious, not because of the horse but because they may have to consider what little Johnny is eating albeit briefly.
Many pieces of work have been done that confirm that it is cheaper to feed your children home cooked food than to buy this garbage but young mums are now too busy what with coffee, clothes shopping, Facebook and the like that they need the convenience. You see we have spent so much time telling mums that they are people to that they have, in the main, forgotten that they are also mums.
When you buy a burger that costs 10 pence think about the maths, the gross profit will take at least 4.5 pence, there is the cost of packaging, artwork, transport and processing, how much do you think that leaves to bring up a cow? Not enough clearly and that is why your value product is simply a way of disposing of rubbish.
We had the same uproar over chicken nuggets when people were told how they are made, note this is not when they found out, there was no secret here it was simply when they were actually told. Have you ever eaten a chicken nugget? Bite one and look at the grey bubbly texture and then tell yourself its ‘prime chicken breast’ it can’t be done. After all the uproar what happened? They renamed it popcorn chicken and value chicken nuggets.
This food will never disappear because if it did then wastage would increase and then costs would rise and we don’t like that. So the current way of dealing with waste from food production is by way of an agreement you make with the supplier when you purchase value products, its goes something like this:
The supplier shall use his best efforts to ensure that the contents of this package have been processed, coloured and pressed so as to take a vaguely similar form to that of the intended product, the supplier shall also make every reasonable effort to ensure recognisable body parts are mashed beyond recognition.
The consumer agrees to deploy minimum chewing when consuming the product, to swallow at the first opportunity and not to enquire as to the ingredients.
It would be nice to think that one day we all grow up and realise that you have to spend money to buy food and that value is synonymous with non toxic when it comes to selecting food, I mean crayons are non toxic and cheap but would you feed them to the kids as dinner?
But I fear that the conditioning has spread too far for this to change and I give you one example to support this. My good friend Chris was a huge fan of sausage rolls and pork pies, both of which are flavoured and textured garbage, so we explained the awful rubbish he was eating to him. Chris, as an intelligent man, reflected on this information for a while and ever since has cheerily referred to these items as “lips and arseholes” whilst consuming them with a grin, if nothing else at least he is honest and probably quite cheap to feed.
*The store, not the country
**A colloquial term for microwave or ready meals