A consumer group survey has shown that more than half of all UK consumers have changed their shopping habits. This comes after the nationwide horsemeat scandal.
The survey completed by Which? states that of the 2000 adults who answered the online questions 60% have now changed their shopping habits. These people are now buying products with less processed meat in order to avoid possible horsemeat consumption.
The survey has also suggested that the public’s trust in the food industry has greatly declined since the scandal first came to light. Processed beef products across Europe have shown traces of horsemeat. This has raised a number of questions regarding the food chain and the food industries control.
The executive of Which? Richard Lloyd states this scandal has exposed the need for urgent change in the food industry. Change needs to come about in the way food fraud is detected and how all the standards are enforced across Europe.
Of the 2000 survey respondents around 68% believe that the government has not been giving the enforcing of labelling laws enough attention. Half of the consumers also state that they have little confidence in the accuracy of ingredient lists which are on products.
Mr Lloyd explained that the serious failings by the food industry need to be put right. If nothing is done consumers will not feel comfortable or confident in the food they are buying.
The horsemeat scandal first broke in January when horsemeat was found in frozen beef burgers by Irish food inspectors. The beef burgers were made by a firm which supplies Ireland and the UK. Some of the stores the firm sold to include Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Tesco.
Since this scandal was first reported horsemeat has been found in beef products across Europe. Countries involved in the scandal include Germany, France, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. According to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Food Standards Agency has a hard lesson to learn.
The motive behind this scandal is believed to be financial due to its widespread nature. In some countries horsemeat is much cheaper than beef making the profit margin of the products much greater. Although, in some areas in Europe horsemeat has a higher price as it is consumed in great quantities.
Raids have been carried out by the FSA and 3 men have been arrested under the Fraud Act. These men deny all wrongdoings and have been released on bail. The European law enforcement agency Europol has received evidence from the UK on this scandal.
In France supplier Spanghero has been accused of knowingly placing beef labels on horsemeat. Spanghero denies the allegations stating that it was the victim of fraud by Romanian suppliers. This has not stopped the French officials from suspending their license.
While horsemeat is edible the danger comes with drugs given to the horses before they are killed. Bute is given to horses but is dangerous to humans and may have entered the human food chain. Any meat with this drug has been recalled and consumers are urged to return any recalled meat.