Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Adulterated food is a consumer packaged goods nightmare. Europe is living the bad dream now with horse meat passed off as beef. One can ask if manufacturers are to blame for foreign protein getting into the hamburger supply. At the initial processing point, they are but the downstream purveyors are victims along with the public. They had reasons to assume that inspections had occurred all along the line and the ground meat they were using was as it was claimed. Now they can no longer make that assumption. It will be up to each level of processing to check at added expense. Public reaction has been interesting. The British were upset, the French not so much, but the French eat horse meat regularly. The real question that authorities have to answer is what is in the protein stream. If no one detected horse, what else could be ground up and passed off. We might think that it can't happen in America, but we would be fools. There is a chain of trust in the food supply and sleazy operators can violate that trust at any time. Meanwhile, companies like Nestle have a major PR crisis on their hands that will call for stringent in-house testing in the future.