Posts Tagged ‘Shergar burgers’

The Shergar burgers story tells us its time to look again at supermarket regulation

17/01/2013, 09:40:18 AM

by Peter Watt

This may end up being a bit of a rant so apologies.  Horsemeat, or rather horsemeat pretending to be beef in Tesco beef burgers; it was the rather shocking and grim story that we all awoke to earlier this week.  Much of the reaction surrounded the fact that the story related to the eating of horses – something we are culturally programmed not to do in our horse loving country.  I read several articles and countless tweets that explored the seeming contradiction inherent in our love of eating cows, pigs, chickens and sheep and so on – but not horses.  I also read a lot of jokes – my favourite being, “next time someone offers you a free burger, take it.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Now I don’t eat meat so I guess it’s easy to laugh, but then I saw this joke and it made me reflect:

“Those Aldi burgers were nice but I prefer my Lidl Pony”

It made me reflect because it suddenly clicked that the errant (mostly) beef burgers were part of the value range on offer by Tesco.  In other words they were from a range aimed at people on a budget.

I thought back a couple of weeks to a conversation I had had with a friend of mine who had hit a bit of bad luck recently.  As a result he and his family were seriously short of money and living on an incredibly tight budget.  He was telling me that they had bought some mince at a supermarket that was incredibly cheap and had used it to make a spaghetti Bolognese.  The meat was slightly odd looking raw and when cooked turned into a much reduced and gristly grey gloop.  It sounded pretty grim, but my friend had no choice but to buy this very cheap food if he was going to feed himself and his family.

But back to horsegate.  I started noticed that people were tweeting things like “this horse story is why I only ever make burgers from beef that I buy and mince myself.”  Or “it wouldn’t happen at Waitrose.” Now I have no idea whether it would happen at Waitrose but the point was that many people seemed pleased that they could pay to avoid eating that which they didn’t want to.  In this case horse.  Now I am certainly no class warrior (I suspect that this will not come as a shock to many!) but for me this pretty much misses the point of this story!  What are we saying here?  “It’s OK for poor people to eat crap as long as I don’t have to!”


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