independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Horsing into burgers and getting that nagging feeling

ANNE CAMPBELL

Published 23/01/2013 | 14:19

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THERE'S no point in horsing around any more. The mane talking point this week, and we heard it from the horse's mouth, was the revelation that some, neigh, a helluva lot of, cheap burgers in Ireland contain horse DNA.

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Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney tried to think on the hoof and endeavoured to put the matter out to pasture.

But there are still many hurdles to jump and, in fairness to the minister, last week was a total 'mare.

I love a frozen burger. Many of my friends and colleagues had a very blinkered view of the situation, not being ones to horse the burgers into themselves on a regular basis like myself.

I have to say I wasn't totally surprised - but it was hardly a sure bet. I still have some frozen burgers in the freezer, and they're off, but to even think about eating them now, after all that happened last week, is enough to give me the trots.

I lived in France for a year when I was much younger, and found that horse was, and still is, part of their stable diet. And that's OK for the French, and many other Europeans, who would pretty much eat anything that isn't nailed down.

But the Irish and British are saddled with different cultural tastes, and are horse telling their European counterparts that dining on equine is not something that we want to do, consciously anyway but they seem to have proven that you really can flog a dead horse, and make a profit from it.

The steaks are high in this particular food crisis and everyone - from farmers to food producers to government - is jockeying for position. They are rightly concerned the situation is galloping out of control and are doing their best to ride the storm which has erupted around the world over the quality of Irish produced food.

Questions have to be asked now, even though it's like closing the door after the horse has bolted.

What on earth did they think they were putting into the burgers?

And here's another question they will have to field - how come they didn't know? We the decent, cheap burger-buying people like myself and others in my neighbourhood want to know.

It's no wonder I've been going around with a long face of late - the thoughts of eating what might have come last in the 8.20 at Dundalk has the ability to stirrup strange and powerful emotions.

But hay, if nothing else, there will be a steward's inquiry and, hopefully, a few will get pulled off their high horses. It's time to rein them in - as the cheap food-eating public, like myself, continue to nag them for better ingredients. With a bit of luck, the next time you're asked what you want on your burger, you won't be tempted to say 'a tenner each way'.

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