14 February 2013

Horse feathers

I'm delighted by the way that the social media and the newspapers have been full of gags about the horse meat scandal.  Tesco's bologneighs, My Lidl pony and Findus Deep Fill Horse Lasagne are already well known on the comedy circuit.

Two things bother me: one is that I don't get the scientific thing about a lasagne being 100% horse meat - what about the pasta, bechamel sauce and all the other ingredients? Does it mean that all of the meat came from horses or that all of the meat tested positive for a trace of horse DNA?  One is substitution, the other contamination - not the same thing. 

The other and bigger concern is that all this furore about cheap meat is obscuring the big scandal of the year so far - the disastrous story of Mid-Staffordshire NHS.  This has been driven off the front pages by hysteria about meat which admittedly should not be where it was found, but is not diseased and so far is not shown to have contained bute, a treatment for horse ailments that is harmful to humans. Without wanting to rush off to Belgium for a mouth-watering steak at a traiteur chevaline, I do think we've lost sight of the priorities.  We should be calling for heads to roll in the NHS management instead.

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