At first sight the recent horse meat scandal has minimal health implications for vegans, simply because we don’t eat meat. And as we don’t we won’t have to concern ourselves with bute – phenylbutazone – which is a vetenary drug used on racehorses and carcinogenic to humans. So while we are against animal consumption in general, the horse meat scandal does not affect vegans directly.
Horse meat scandal can’t touch me, I’m vegan!
As a vegan I want to know what is in the food being sold to me. I often ask the question “what’s in this, please?”. It’s a very reasonable question and one that should be readily answered. If they don’t know they should be able to tell you. But if even the manufacturer cannot be sure….!
One thing that has become apparent from the whole sordid affair is the lack of clarity about what is in the food supermarkets sell us. Tesco removed ready meals from it’s shelves that were 60% horse meat but labelled spaghetti Bolognese and there was worse. As the scandal unfolded it was incredible just how complicated the process of sourcing ingredients for these ready meals is. Furthermore, it was notable how the supermarkets sell products to the public with actually no real idea where the ingredients came from let alone what was really in them!
This infographic is very long but it shows how the horse meat scandal built from a murmur to full-blown scandal. It’s interesting stuff, for sure but just scroll down past it for more vegan issues kinda related to the horse meat scandal!
While we can read the ingredients on packs in supermarkets how much faith can we have that these labels are giving us an accurate description of what’s in them? Judging by the horse meat scandal, not a lot. Ready meals come from factories and the chain of sourcing ingredients is long and complicated. This results in discrepancies. Do these discrepancies extend to vegan foods?
The vast majority of ready meals are NOT vegan, so by default we’re probably safe. But the best bet is to avoid this much anyway, cook your own dinner, it’ll taste better anyway. Any ready meals sold by Vegan companies is likely to have a less convoluted ingredient sourcing chain.
Operation Pancake and mock meats
Back in February, Alex Beet of Beet the System alerted the Moseley Vegans to operation pancake a covert investigation into the veracity of the mock meats in vegan restaurants in LA. Seven of seventeen tested failed and failed badly. It is a shocking read and what’s more there was doubt cast on mock meats imported from Taiwan. Apparently, as much as 50% is contaminated with animal meat! Vile, the situation does seem to have improved since the time of the report but it’s grim reading.
Of course, the mock meats made in this country are not going to suffer the same contamination. However, this is another reason to avoid processed crap. In conjunction with the horse meat scandal, how sure can we be that we are eating what they say we’re eating? How sure can we be that our “what’s in it?” question is being answered correctly?
Even more reason to steer clear of processed crap! Juicing and home cooking for me, I think. What do you think?
EDIT: Horse meat scandal apology was misleading…
A Tesco ad that apologised to consumers over the horse meat scandal that engulfed the supermarket earlier this year has been judged “misleading” because it implied the entire food industry ad issues with meat standards.
The ad in question (see picture below) was part of a was a two-page campaign in the national press taken out after horse meat was found in some of Tesco’s meat products, such as burgers and spaghetti bolognese, when the packaging said it they contained beef.