Looking gift horses in the mouth

FOOLS AND HORSES: Meat scandal left people feeling foolish

ONLY fools and horses seems like the most fitting title for the current news regarding horse meat, wouldn’t you agree?

We know where the horse ended and need we wonder who the fool is? Not quite sure at the minute.

Though the bombardment on TV has now slightly died down, it is true that when we first heard it we were probably in shock for a plethora of reasons.

You may have never imagined that your favourite and most delicious lasagna TV dinner was made with it! So were people insulted because of having liked it or because they were not told it was made with it? Probably both.

Albeit through the ages man has, I’m sure, eaten a variety of meats. From the moment they could hunt anything went.

Even today, in different cultures and countries, meats which are strange to us are normal to them. That doesn’t make it wrong – though I may not share their tastes nor understand them – I don’t have to eat theirs and vice-versa.

Historically, during many of the wars horsemeat was eaten. In some European kitchens it is still considered a delicacy. In fact horsemeat is – from what I’ve read here and there – lower in fat, more tender and the taste is very similar to that of beef. Then I ask, why the face of horror and disgust?

My humble and practical opinion is that horsemeat has a negative connotation as it is not as posh as others; and, recognising that it has entered our food systems is more than anything embarrassing. Maybe a few like me thought that this meat was used to make dog food, fertiliser or something.

Embarrassing because it was probably an open secret and someone blew the whistle.

But, do we really believe that supermarkets, producers and the government didn’t know at all that part of the content of these foods contained horse?

Was it sheer coincidence that an array of processed meat products contained traces of horse DNA in it?  No, but most turned a blind eye because who wants to really know why sausages, TV dinners and the like are so cheap. Cheaper than a pint or a pack of cigarettes…

In any case, my real worry is not that those products contained horsemeat, my concern arises from the fact that we don’t know where the meat originated from and if it was actually tested for quality and disease. Neither do we know whether the horses were treated well or looked after the way other animals are treated in proper farms with regular checks, etc.

I guess the moral to this story is never to look at a gift horse in the mouth, unless of course, it comes with flees.

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