BSE: Response to a U.K. supermarket executive

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YouTube Video


To follow on from the video above...

A supermarket attempted to re-assure the public in a similar way that the government unwisely attempted to reassure the public. It would have been better to have confronted the need for better animal welfare and human health.  This would have helped improve food safety.

YouTube Video


This presentation is based on a comment made by a supermarket executive in a newspaper from May 1996.
Information for this presentation comes from an academic paper, the BBC and the Justice for Andy website.
Mechanically Recovered Meat may be relevant to the 2 million cattle which may have had BSE. 
Supermarkets have been criticized regarding BSE.

Source of academic paper on Mechanically Recovered Meat (MRM)

Lang T. , (1995:6), The contradictions of food labelling policy, Information design Journal, 8/1 , p. 3-16

Note: "In 1995, MRM made from bovine backbone was banned from use in meat products in the UK because it may (have) contain(ed) traces of spinal cord".


Non-bovine mechanically recovered meat


Concern over mechanically recovered, or separated, meat is wider than an unease over food safety.  M.R.M. can be safe; in terms of a low risk to the food consumer of suffering a food-borne disease.  However, there could be problems over poor nutrition and inadequate animal welfare.  A shortcoming of the U.K. Food Standards Agency is that its remit may be too narrow, as arguably it does not put enough emphasis on how animals are used as human meat.  It is possible to have meat which is legal and safe but which is, frankly, disgusting.  The BBC video on the left, could treat food and agricultural policy more seriously, but it does make a useful point.


Animal Welfare, BSE and the historical context


The roots of BSE can be traced back to poor quality animal welfare in the 19th century.  Animals were being treated as commodities which opened the way for further ill-treatment.