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Exclusive: Horsemeat scandal consequence of ‘quite extraordinary greed’?

13 February 2013

The cross-contamination of horsemeat is a result of the food industry's greed, according to food safety expert Professor Mike Lean (pictured).

Prof Lean, from the University of Glasgow, told Food Processing: “As I see it, this entire scandal, like the BSE crisis before it, is a consequence of quite extraordinary greed in the quest for more profit from a food industry whose margins have been squeezed to the point of collapse, and from the foolish (American-led) promotion of quantity rather than quality.

“We and our children deserve foods which serve necessary biological functions as well as looking and smelling and tasting good.

"Nutrition has been systematically neglected by caterers and retailers in UK and worldwide, with a detriment for long term health. Regulatory bodies have limited their attention to short-term food safety, and ignored long-term food safety. But that is changing. I am very keen to support a profitable and inventive food industry, but it should be setting its own targets on providing for the best long term health of consumers.”

Prof Lean’s comments were made as European ministers meet in Brussels today to discuss tightening regulations on processed meat.

The summit is taking place as supermarkets across Britain are being urged by the Food Standards Agency to test pork, chicken and other meats for cross-contamination. Ireland’s agriculture minister Simon Coveney said the summit would focus on ‘whatever steps may be necessary at EU level to comprehensively address this matter’. Measures on the agenda reportedly include labelling processed meat for its origin.


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