'Criminal conspiracy' behind horsemeat scandal
Supermarkets in Sweden and Germany remove 'beef' products from their shelves as the horsemeat scandal widens.PT1M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2egkj 620 349 February 15, 2013
Almost a third of adults in Britain have stopped eating ready-meals as a result of the horsemeat scandal, while 7 per cent have stopped eating meat altogether, a poll has found.
The ComRes survey for the Sunday Mirror and The Independent on Sunday newspapers, which was released on Sunday, found that 31 per cent have given up eating ready-meals as the discovery of equine flesh in products labelled beef, spreads across Europe.
The poll also found a 53 per cent to 33 per cent majority in favour of banning the import of all meat products "until we can be sure of their origin".
A 320g size box of Findus brand beef lasagne is seen after its purchase from an independent food store in Nunhead, southeast London. Photo: Reuters
ComRes interviewed 2002 adults online on Wednesday and Thursday.
Twenty-nine beef products out of 2501 tested in Britain have been found to contain more than 1 per cent horsemeat, its Food Standards Agency said on Friday.
The scandal has left governments scrambling to figure out how and where the mislabelling happened in the sprawling chain of production spanning a maze of abattoirs and meat suppliers across Europe.
"We need to restore consumer confidence," said Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
"That is why we are working flat-out now with the European authorities, with other European countries and, of course, introducing things that we should now do on a more systematic debate like random testing."
Mark Price, the chief executive of Waitrose, one of Britain's major supermarket chains, warned that in return for knowing that food is safe and genuine, it can no longer be seen as a "cheap commodity".
"If the question is, 'who can sell the cheapest stuff?', I'm afraid it is inevitable that there will be a slackening of product specifications," he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
"If something good comes of the current scandal I hope it is the opening up of a debate around the true economics of food and a determination on the part of everybody in the food industry to apply renewed rigour to their processes and testing regimes to ensure that customers can relax and enjoy the food they buy," he said.