Early February 2013 in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland and Poland horsemeat was discovered in products sold as beef. A horsemeat scandal was born. (Een vandaag – binnenland ). The scandal was discovered earlier, by the food & safety Authority of Ireland at 16 January 2013. They tested a range of cheap frozen beef burgers and one-minute-meals from supermarkets in November 2012 for the presence of DNA from other species, which were undeclared. It found horse DNA in over one-third of the beef burger samples. (The Guardian ). The purpose of this essay is to compare and analyse the horsemeat scandal in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands in the fields of governmental reaction (Nu-politiek ), change in shopping habits and prosecution. At the end this proposal will give a visible recommendation how such a matter can be prevented in the future.
*1.1: Dutch government.
According to Nu.nl (Nu-politiek ) the Dutch government responded with the answer that they are not going to stronger the regulations regarding the meat sector in their opinion the Dutch food & safety authority responded adequate and followed the standard procedure. The Dutch government came with this reaction after that the French deputy minister connected the Netherlands with a horsemeat scandal in February and also the British Media reported that the Dutch company Draap a key role player is in the Horsemeat-scandal. According to Eenvandaag (Een vandaag – binnenland ) the Dutch food & safety authority shut down the Dutch company Willy Selten early February. They were suspected for mixing beef with horsemeat.
*1.2: British government
The Britsh government reacted diferently on the horse scandal according to the BBC (BBC) namely the food Minister David Heath said ‘it would look for any vulnerabilities in the food chain that could be exploited by fraudsters consumers must have confidence in the food they buy’. The minister also said that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) would review their handling on the crisis.
It can be stated that the reaction of the Dutch goverment was not sufficient to ease society about the case. In comperasion the reaction of the Britsh government was very reassured the minister confidenced British society that it will not happen again and he prommised an investigation.
*2: Change in shopping habits.
*2.1: Dutch society.
May 2013, according to Foodlog (Milieu) the meat consuming pattern by customers have changed studies shows that after the meat scandal 20% of the Dutch society changed their shopping habits, 11.6% prefer buying biological or sustainable meat and 12,4% choose to eat less meat. The study also showed that the meat scandals did not had any influence on 75% of the Dutch society. Instead the opposite happened the phenomena horsemeat was booming in the Netherlands and the Dutch people wanted to try the bespoke horsemeat. (Een vandaag – binnenland ).
*2.2: British society.
January 2014, the Guardian reported a survey carried out on behalf the British consumer organisation (The Guardian-BCO) the studies shows that in November 49% of respondents said the horsemeat incident had changed their shopping habits, with 25% responded that they are buying less processed meat and 17% declared that they are only buying meat at the butcher. (The Guardian-BCO)
It can be concluded that studies show that 20% Dutch society changed their shopping habits regarding meat against 49% of British society; it can be assumed that the horsemeat scandal a bigger impact has on the British society than Dutch society. However, the similarity is that people in both countries are more aware regarding the meat they are eating, the preference go to biological and sustainable meat.
*3.1: The Netherlands.
January 2015 director Willy Selten of the slaughterhouse Willy Selten is the only prosecuted for the alleged fraud with horsemeat within his company. In the meat trade Willy Selten would have received since 2011 approximately 300,000 kilos of horsemeat, from the Netherlands, England and Ireland. Willy Selten is accused of forgery. The cases of the sales director and an employee of the administration are dismissed they were suspected of involvement. Source: (Elsevier ) March 24, the prosecutor demanded five years against meat trader Willy Selten for fraud with horsemeat, according to the prosecutor the meat wholesale Willy Selten sold relatively cheap horsemeat as beef. Willy Selten has specifically guilty of forgery, according to the prosecutor. As far as known by Willy Selten processed at least 336,000 kilograms of horse. ” Customers were misled and ripped off, ” said prosecutor Ingeborg Koopmans. Source: (Nu) 7 April 2015, the Dutch court sentenced the slaughterhouse boss Willy Selten to 18 months prison because of fraud with meat. The court ruled that the meat dealer knowingly went to work and he was doing it purely for money the court further said that he had harmed the image of the meat sector. Source: (Omroep Brabant)
*3.2: United Kingdom.
March 2015, a British slaughterhouse boss has become the first person to be sentenced in connection with the horsemeat scandal from 2013. Peter Boddy was fined *8,000 after admitting one count of failing to abide by EU meat traceability regulations. Boddy, also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food traceability regulations, which state the source of meat should be traceable from field to fork. He sold 55 carcasses without keeping records of where they were going, 37 of which he claimed went to Italian restaurants. A further 17 animals entered his business without documents showing where they had come from. Boddy was sentenced alongside the slaughterhouse manager, David Moss, who was sentenced after admitting forging an invoice concerning the number of horses sold in a transaction on 12 February 2013. Moss was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years. Sentencing them, the judge, Alistair McCreath, said: ‘The traceability of food products, here meat, is of critical importance in relation to public health. If meat causes ill health, then it is important that those responsible for investigating the cause of it should quickly be able to discover where the meat came from and trace it backwards and backwards and backwards to find where the problem lies and prevent the problem escalating.’ (The Guardian )
In comparison, the Dutch court did not decide to prosecute the employees of the slaughterhouse the British court did choose to prosecute the employees of the British slaughterhouse. However, the penalties in the United Kingdom were lower than in the Netherlands in both cases it can be stated that the penalties were a statement against the meat sector saying that they do not tolerate scandals such as these.
On balance, to prevent cases such as the horsemeat scandal of 2013 the European Union came with a norm in September 2014, to stronger regulation regarding horse registration the European Union demands that all horses for consumption from 2009 and older are being chipped, this has to be arranged before 1 January 2016. The European Union wants to prevent that horses that not are suitable for the food market are being sold. Before that there was not such a regulation in the European Union. Source: (Foodlog) This regulation that is stated is in mine opinion not sufficient, the problem has to be caught within the source. The European Union has to review their regulations regarding horses on the streets, in many east European countries this regulation caused a lot of problems and in reaction to this regulation many people in those counties needed to ‘dump’ their horses and that reacted in a surplus in unhealthy horses and these horses were bought cheap by slaughterhouse bosses like Selten and Boddy. Source: (Een vandaag – binnenland ) So, if the European Union wants to tackle this matter it has to start at the source and has to admit that there are a lot of culture differences within the European Union and that they cannot easily be regulated.