It’s just gone 7 pm in the newsroom. The team draws breath after a busy live show. Some button their coats to leave. The late crew, including me, prepares to tuck into standard ‘ready meal’ fare and chew over the next bulletin. It’s then that the international horsemeat scandal gallops full speed into Wales. Positive tests for horse in processed beef products made here.
The tests, you could say, are an example of shutting the stable door once the crisis has bolted. But, nonetheless, UK officials had chased the horse round the food chain and across Europe to be brought home to their own backyard. Cue jokes about ‘getting the trots’ from ‘a stable diet’ and suddenly, my microwaveable lasagne was infinitely less appealing.
Remember though, the horse scare is not a health scare. In France, where my husband plays rugby, le cheval is a menu regular and recent ‘publicity’ has, in fact, boosted sales there. The question for the consumer here is not a medical one, but one of trust. Many of us may not necessarily be so bothered about eating horse. We’re more concerned about how it got there and what else might have snuck in along with it.