Horsemeat Scandal
April 1st, 2013, Emilene Parry

Horsemeat Scandal

Recently horsemeat was found in products labeled as beef. Most Lab participants were aware of the ‘horsemeat scandal’ although fewer claimed that their eating habits had changed as a result of the scandal.

Of those who said their eating habits had changed, over half said that they are eating fewer ready meals or have stopped eating ready meals altogether. Over two-fifths, who stated their eating habits had changed, claimed that they are eating less meat and just over a quarter stated that they are eating different brands of meat.

Majority of Lab participants believe that eating horsemeat is ‘disgusting’ although the consensus is that the main issue is not that people have been eating horsemeat but that they were not aware that they were eating it. Interestingly, almost half felt that the media are making too big a deal out of this scandal.

Most participants, who were aware of the scandal, were concerned that horsemeat has been substituted for beef in their country of residence. Furthermore, two-fifths felt that it was likely that this has happened.

Participants who felt it was likely that horsemeat has been substituted in their country of residence:

“Meat has been tasting differently lately and is not keeping with its consistency and texture” Anon

“A lot of the food here is imported from outside so no trust on what is being mixed” MJ, UAE

“It has been admitted by IKEA that they sold it here and some of the products that were tainted were available here. I am not concerned as I don't eat processed foods and only buy organic beef” Kate, UAE

“This has been happening in the past in most of the star hotels. Use of Pork, Donkey and Buffalo meat to substitute mutton is very common in India and presumably in other parts of the world also” Jernaus, UAE

Participants who felt it was unlikely that horsemeat has been substituted in their country of residence:

“Because the standards here are high along with strong supervision especially after the scandal” Anon

“The scandal was mainly in Europe” Najeem, Qatar

“Because the beef here is Halal and not shipped in from the countries where this is occurring” Juliette, UAE

“I hope and think that the government is in control of what is imported to the country and quality checked before entering port!” Anon

“Because food products are well controlled by municipality” Majid, UAE

Interestingly the majority of Lab participants hold the government most responsible for ensuring that products contain what they say on the label. Only a quarter stated that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility and roughly 1 in 10 participants felt that the responsibility falls on the shops that are selling the products.

Those who hold the government most responsible:

The government has to place strict and regular checks on meat” Najeem, Qatar

“Shops are concerned with their profit and manufacturers can be greedy so it's entirely government's duty to insure if the labels are correct on products.” Anon

“The government is responsible to make sure through their Inspectors that the meat being sold in the market is Halal and according to our religious belief” Muhammad, Pakistan

“Because they have given rights to import the goods to the country, strict checking should take place” Ans, UAE

“Governments are the most responsible for what people eat” Anon

“If the government doesn't enforce this, then everyone would try to cheat” J, UAE

“The peoples government should be completely responsible and in control of imported products wherever they may come from” Anon

Those who hold the manufacturers most responsible:

“Government cannot appoint someone to sit and verify each and every box of the products manufactured. Manufacturer is solely responsible for the products manufactured by them” Jernaus, UAE

“Because they are the one who is packaging and sealing it, they are responsible for it” Ned, UAE

“They made the product so it is their responsibility to mention what is in it!” Mo, Bahrain

“Manufacturers should and must put on their products labels” Kouider Kessoum

“They are supposed to know what is packed in their products so that they sell the right stuff and also it speaks about the image of the company in the minds of the people. It can make or break their business.” Anon