Where did the 29% horse in your Tesco burger come from?

UK Meat Scandal

Although the Guardian video (linked in the image below) contains very disturbing images, the information in it is very important in detailing the level of corruption in the UK Horse Meat Scandal.

Guardian investigation uncovers complex international supply chain including drug and horse smuggling

From: The Guardian
By: Felicity Lawrence

Horse meat in the UK

Click on above image for a link to video: Is this where the 29% horse in your Tesco burger came from? Warning: Images in the video are very distubring

It is the biggest food fraud of the 21st century; it led to the withdrawal of tens of millions of burgers and beef products across Europe and a promise from David Cameron that everything possible would be done to get a grip on a “very shocking” crime. However, 10 months on, the details of how horsemeat came to adulterate large parts of the British and Irish food chain are still being kept from the public.

Now a Guardian investigation has unpicked one strand of this complex supply chain. Behind beef products sold by famous high-street names we have uncovered a labyrinth of murky meat brokerage that stretches across borders, and takes in drug and horse smuggling, animal welfare abuses, and one of Europe’s richest beef tycoons.

At one point in the chain, there is testimony from migrant workers paid cash in hand to process defrosted meat that was “green” and years old. The Guardian has established that some meat from the plant was sent via a trader to the leading European supplier that manufactured adulterated beefburgers sold in several high street stores.

The shadow environment minister Barry Gardiner said that so long after the fraud came to light, it was a scandal that leading players in the industry had succeeded in shifting the blame and avoiding responsibility and that there had so far been no criminal proceedings. “The extraordinary thing is that because of its clout, industry has been able to commit what appears to be a criminal offence – selling the public horsemeat falsely labelled as beef – and just say they are sorry and didn’t know. If every petty crook could get off by saying I didn’t mean to and I didn’t know, then our criminal justice system would be in a very sorry state.”

One reason prosecution is so difficult is that retail supply chains have become so complex that pinning down the point at which the crime of mislabelling took place has proved difficult. The factory that supplied Tesco with its 29% horse “beefburgers”, for example, was using “multiple ingredients from some 40 suppliers in production batches, and the mixture could vary in every half-hour”, according to the Irish department of agriculture.

The Tesco burgers and those at Burger King, Co-op and Aldi that also tested positive for horse DNA were all made by the ABP group in its Silvercrest factory, in the border area of Ireland. ABP – the initials derive from Anglo-Irish Beef Processors – is the leading processor of cattle in Europe.

The company is owned by the Dundalk-born beef baron and property magnate Larry Goodman. The septuagenarian multimillionaire is famous for hard work, a love of private jets, high-level connections in the Irish government and keeping his business affairs secret. His business employs 2,500 people in the Republic and 8,000 in total in Britain, the Netherlands and Poland, in divisions which also include pet food, rendering and renewable energy from fat. About 50 million Europeans are thought to buy ABP products each week.

Goodman is no stranger to controversy. His companies were at the heart of allegations of fraud and political corruption that led to a public inquiry in Ireland in the early 1990s and helped bring down the Irish government. The report of the inquiry, known as the Beef Tribunal, found that there had been several incidents of fraud and an attempt to cover it up, as well as tax evasion. The judge also concluded that illegality in the company had involved the faking of documents, commissioning of bogus official stamps, passing off of inferior beef trimmings as higher grade meat and cheating of customs officers in the 1980s.

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Find out more on the UK Horse Meat Scandal by viewing this interactive timeline by The Guardian.

AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
1 Comment
  • sherriey

    my oh my!!!!
    and….how safe is ours????????????????

    October 22, 2013