Shutting the stable door after the horses was bolted.
Over the past few week and I am sure in to the next few month the scandal that we have been sold horse meat instead of beef will run and run. Now unlike in the past when something has gone wrong or that people lives have been put into danger this is nothing like that. This is about money, pure simple money, but no one will admit that.
For years the big supermarkets have grown to such a size that they can dictate the price of what they buy. If you are a farmer and you grow potatoes you have to sell them, now you can do that in a small-scale way at the famer market or to local shops. But most of the time you will be lucky to cover your over heads. Small scale is good if you want to know where it comes from but if you want to supply a larger market then you, you have to go to the supermarkets and then you have to sell at the price that they want to buy at. And if you want £1 a kilo and they want to pay £0.80 then you have a choice sell a few or sell it for less and sell it all.
This is not news this has been known for years, farmer and manufactures all complaining about how they have to sell at the price that the supermarkets dictate or they go under. Scratch the surface of the soppily chain and you soon fine that the power of the buyer is more than the power of the producers. And why, it is an international market. Do not want to sell for £0.80 we will go to Egypt or Poland, who will sell for £0.80, so what do you do. You sell for £0.80 or you look for another buyer.
So you try other markets and you have the stock , you need to sell but you cannot get rid of it so you sell it to a broker , who takes it all of your hands for £0.79 per kilo and then they sell it for £0.80 to the supermarkets and make a profit form themselves. And that is it everyone is looking for a way of making thing go just that little but further.
If you cook a chicken you would expect it to lose weight, about 30% to 40% so 1kg of chicken cooked ends up being 600g of chicken. I have seen a cooking process for chicken that is cooked and injected with liquid. Then coated in a powder that hold the water in the chicken and then roasted so the chicken gains weight. This is legal and is on the packet but why do it, well if you can buy 1kg of chicken and sell 1.001kg, well you get the idea I am sure.
I am sure at the processing plant when they first came up with the idea it was at first a mistake, but no one noticed. Then the mistake become an idea, and the idea a common practice. A sort of elephant in the room as long as we all keep the secret then we will all make on the deal . And it is turning out to be more than just a few pennies on the deal, but we are looking at a mutiny million pound fraud here covering the whole of Europe. A classic move it around make the paper chain nice and long so the tractability is difficult and bingo, you have meat laundering not money laundering.
The only thing that I do not understand is the side industry that has grown over the years of auditing to make sure that this does not happen. Every year for the past few years we have had our BRC audit and have passed with a grade A. the paper work checked and sorted, all to a standard. But if organisations like this cannot keep this from happening them what next. DNA testing but who will pay for that .
The truth is that we should put the price of all food up so that the producers, farmers and seller whoever they are can make a living. Big monopoly should have to pay the price of what it costs, and not what it dictates so to put thing in balance about a 5% to 10% increases should happen, across the board.
But you know it will not, for at the end of the day a 99p ready meal sell and sells for one reason and one reason only. The consumer buys it, and while there is a demand then it will exist. And as in the 1940 when black marketers saw a gap in the market and sold horses meat as beef, so they will today.