Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't believe everything you read

Reassuring, isn't it, to discover that the horsemeat scandal was just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the statistics in this Guardian article, reporting the results of food testing which took place in West Yorkshire, are staggering: 38% of all products tested were mislabelled; 50% of the weight of a pack of frozen prawns was found to be water; 88% of vitamin and mineral supplements tested were mislabelled or had packaging which made illegal claims; "a herbal slimming tea" contained "neither herb nor tea but glucose powder laced with a withdrawn prescription drug for obesity at 13 times the normal dose".

In many cases this was evidently just simply cost- and corner-cutting - using cheaper substitutes - but in some instances no regard had been given either to the legality of an ingredient's inclusion or consumer safety. This, to my mind, is a huge national (and international) scandal and deserves far greater coverage. Some people might not have the appetite to dwell on what their food contains or where it comes from, but when public health is being put at risk in pursuit of private profit then government has an obligation to step in and take a very hard line.

(Thanks to Matt for the link.)

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