Friday, February 08, 2013

A Mare Trifle?

The Swedish firm Findus recalled it's "Beef Lasagne" (link) after the product was found to contain mislabeled horsemeat instead of beef. The corporation notified Livsmedelsverket (Sweden's National Food Agency) and sought to assure consumers there was no health danger if eating the bogus product.

The news threatens to saddle the firm with serious problems. The BBC reports the Findus supplier Comigel of France supplied the bad meat. Comigel made the meals in Luxembourg with meat sourced in Romania by the French company Spanghero. The UK Food Standards Agency ordered testing for the dangerous veterinary drug phenylbutazone as it became clear Findus had lost control over product ingredients. Many people suddenly are enraged about adulteration and illegal mislabeling of food supplies.

More firms & foods are being questioned, drawing attention to complex supply chains of variously labeled products. Axfood has recalled their Eldorado Lasagna Bolognese, Willys Lasagna Bolognese & Hemköp Lasagna Bolognese. McAdam Foods, Silvercrest & Rangeland Foods of Ireland, and UK-based Freeza Meats have also been tainted by the scandal.   Supermarket chains Tesco and Aldi in the UK, and ICA & Coop in Sweden are also involved. Retailers who stock mislabeled goods mistakenly are unfortunate, but those selling trash under their own-label should be severely prosecuted. By putting their brand name on a product, they assure us of its quality. It's now not enough to claim surprise after profiting from our gullibility; these corporate outlaws must be reined in.

Earlier this year in Sweden it was found that over 95.5 tons of bogus imported pork had been dyed, mislabeled, and sold as beef. An estimated 320,000 "beef tenderloin steaks" (200g) were trustingly eaten by consumers throughout the country before the scandal came to light.

These are prime examples of how corporations need oversight and hefty fines from government. Right-wing corporate interests encourage us to dismantle "too expensive" government -- but we need stricter checks & balances on overgrown, gluttonous corporations. Profit maximization makes businesses prone to cut corners at everyone's expense.