In the Comigel processing plant, though, we have already learned that the horsemeat meat was used frozen, in which case, visual appearance is of little relevance. One block of frozen meat looks very much like another. A simple "boiling test" would nevertheless have been adequate.
But this "recently retired inspector" is talking about abattoirs and cutting plants. Reductions in the number of inspections at cutting plants – after a change in EU law in 2004 – and pressure to work at speed in abattoirs, could have made horse meat harder to spot, he tells us. "Before we had two inspectors to work a body of beef and they'd do half each – now one does the lot. The volumes of work people have to do working as fast as the production line means you miss more things", he complains.
Budget cuts to the Food Standards Agency have contributed to a halving of the number of meat inspectors since the 1990s, though the number of meat plants has also fallen, we are then told. In the past three years local authority regulatory services have been slashed by 32 percent per person in real terms.
Yet the failures which are currently gripping the nation took place in a processing plant in another country, out of sight of inspectors - and out of reach of our own. The failures are a result of regulations mandated by the EU and enforced by the French authorities, under the supervision of EU officials. How could a drop in the number of meat inspectors or speeding up the work rate in UK plants be a contributory factor?
This, though, it what passes for an intelligent contribution to the debate, made all the more predictable and leaden by resurrecting the old war horse, professor Tim Lang, supposedly an "expert in food policy", but in fact a lefty campaigner. Using Lang is a bit like Godwin's Law
. Whomsoever quotes him has automatically lost the debate.
That, however, does not stop Kuchler, who then goes on to Liz Moran, president of the association of public analysts. She is allowed a few paragraphs of special pleading, then followed by Andy Foster from the Trading Standards Institute, who says some local authority sampling budgets have been cut by 50-70 percent.
This, it appears, is the best that the Financial Times
can offer, a piece of work for which the phrase "extruded verbal material" (EVM) was invented. The legacy media, as always, is writing itself out of the debate. It has nothing sensible to offer.
COMMENT: "HORSEMEAT" THREAD