Jesmond’s take on the horsemeat scandal
After recent concerns from the Food Standard Agency over the presence of horsemeat in beef products, consumers nationally are already questioning whether or not they trust food providers.
Questioned for a survey for two Sunday newspapers, 31% of adults questioned said they had stopped eating ready-meals because of the scandal. The ComRes Survey for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday also discovered that 7% had stopped eating meat altogether and that 53% believed a ban on foreign meat imports would be the best way to eradicate any contamination.
Food brands such as Findus have supplied products containing almost 100% horsemeat, while Tesco has removed its Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese from shelves nationally. Beef imported from the continent, with horsemeat supposedly added in Romanian abattoirs, is thought to be the source of the problem.
However, it is not only horsemeat which has been sold under another name. Traces of pork were found in Waitrose’s frozen beef meatballs – a problem which eventually led the supermarket to remove the product from its shelves.
JesmondLocal asked local butchers whether the national controversy engulfing supermarkets was having any impact on their business.
A spokesperson for Arlo of Brentwood Avenue, Jesmond, said they had experienced “no change at all” in meat sales following the scandal.
However, George Payne Butchers of Gosforth said it had indeed noticed a dramatic rise in the amount of beef being purchased, saying that “things like burgers are up 30% over the last few weeks, and the same for mince. I’d say that overall sales of meat are up about 15%.”
Proprietor Payne also told JesmondLocal he’d seen an influx of new customers, as well as old customers returning.
He said he “absolutely” believed the upturn was to be due to horsemeat being found in supermarket produce.
George Payne sources 90% of its meat from Northumberland, with the other 10% coming from Speyside in Scotland.
With the horsemeat controversy largely being attributed to dubious supply chains, butchers specialising in locally-sourced meat may find themselves benefitting from the renewed focus on where our food comes from.