February 2013

Frozen meat meets the criminal world

Food fraud in the EU, an ever closer conspiracy?

Deep fill, deep trouble!Deep fill, deep trouble!
The story began being labelled as the horse meat scandal. But much as part of this problem seems to be the easy way food labels can be changed it's now changed to 'food fraud'. Over at EUReferendum - Richard North is perhaps the best placed person in the UK to deal with this subject. He's not only in general terms politically minded but also an expert on the workings of the EU. This is vital as the scandal happened on the EU's watch. North is technically qualified too, he, unlike many of the journalists now writing about this subject, does not need to rush to Wikipedia to help him understand the science.

The EU spews out an enormous amount of law. Even if you think the EU is the most wonderful political confederation on earth it cannot be overlooked that in this case the amount of law has not prevented a colossal fraud and, despite assurances so far that human health is not at risk, the public have lost a great deal of confidence in the food industry and the regulators. It remains to be seen if their confidence in the political oversight in the UK holds up.

Food adulterated for profit is not a new problem, it was endemic in the Victorian era.

The lethal state

How to get away with murder

In whom we trust?In whom we trust?
It was one of those ironic moments, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, John Humphrys interviewed Mike Farrar, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation on the subject of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust. So one failing organisation up against another. The exact death toll stemming from the breakdown in care at Mid Staffs may never be known, it could be over 1000 lives. And on the other side we have the BBC, employer of Jimmy Savile, although a serial hospital botherer and visitor Savile was not, as far as we know, lethal. Even so, this is hardly a platform upon which to build is it?

Humphrys, in Olympian terms gold, silver and bronze, was very much at the latter level. This was the setting used to interview the inept but now very wealthy George Entwhistle, the ex-head of the BBC. Bronze mode is what a boy might expect from the Deputy Headmaster having been caught doing something anti-social in the school library. So with Humphrys on a low setting Farrar had it easy he ran rings around Humphrys, he was brilliant.

And the reason for this? Well Farrar was well trained in the public servant's art of talking but not saying anything. Also Farrar's penny whistle reedy voice blandly cheeped and wailed while Humphrys sounded more like a bassoonist demonstrating his take on a complex musical score.

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