Nicholson: Pressure for ever-cheaper food is behind horse scandal

15-Mar-2013 @ 15:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Two key factors have helped create Europe's horse-meat scandal, senior Northern Iraland MEP James Nicholson said today.

In an emergency debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he said the length of the food-processing chain and pressure from big supermarkets to drive down prices had both been prime causes behind the crisis.

Mr Nicholson, agriculture spokesman for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said he favoured better and more-effective labelling, but he warned that "all the labelling in the world" would not stop determined criminals if they were set on defrauding the public, unless there was a proper regime of inspection.

He said the scandal had happened firstly because the food processing chain was far too long, with too many parties offered the opportunitiy for fraud.

He continued: "Secondly (I blame) the pressure that large retailers are putting on the agri-food industry to produce so-called cheap food. There is no such thing as cheap food. Good food costs money."

And he noted: "As always, there are some good parts to this issue as well as bad. We have seen people returning to their local butcher at the expense of the big supermarkets They want to know exactly what they are buying when it comes to their food. That is to be welcomed."

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