Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Can I have a horseburger, please?

A beefburger, made with one hundred per cent ground beef? Or a horseburger, made with one hundred per cent ground horsemeat? Can anyone say for certain what they are eating these days, can anyone assure us that what we are eating is safe? The recent meat scandals in Europe are creating immense changes in eating habits.

Can I have a hamburger please?

Yes sir you can but it isn't made of ham, neither does it come from Hamburg...

OK then I'll have a beefburger. It says beef on the packet

Well it isn't made of beef either and it can say what you like on the packet but that doesn't mean anything, now, does it? If I told you what went into those sausages you buy you would be appalled.

What do you mean?

Well what part of lips, cheeks and as*holes don't you get? You don't seriously believe they put in prime quality meat, do you? By "prime quality meat" read "smashed up lungs, esophagi, backsides, cheeks, eyelids, scrotums, foreskins, bowels, aortas and eyeballs". Sorry, you aren't squeamish are you?

 Well you're making me feel sick

Feel sick? Don't be silly, you've been eating this stuff for years without knowing it. Why the sudden rush of righteousness? I suppose you are going to say your chicken nuggets are made of chunks of real chicken breasts and that the oil your fries come in is healthy?

 I don't believe you. The latest scandal came from Romania and was a localized criminal scam. Soon we'll be going back to healthy food again

And I suppose you believe that before the European Union came along there was a glut of horses in Romania as people trotted off to Bucharest on horseback and then after Brussels handed out motor cars, the horses had to be killed and lo and behold they found their way into hamburgers...and pies...and ravioli...and Bolognese sauce...and meatballs...and...

 OK, so what am I supposed to do, be honest and ask for Swedish horseballs and sauce or a horseburger and fries?

Well it wouldn't do you any good if you did. Some of the horsemeat is actually donkey meat and the rest is Christ alone knows what. See when you go to your local butcher, and ask for a leg of lamb, that's what you get. When you go to your Big Space and buy a frozen meat pie, that's what you get. It's meat...but you don't get to choose what type.

Well, isn't it just frozen legs of lamb and beef and so on, pulverized?

No, forget the labels. A lot of this stuff is sold as "meat".

What does that mean?

 "Meat". Monkey, camel, ostrich, pig's ear, a cow's bottom, goat's testicles, wombat's penis, a guinea-pig or three, some stray cats, worms, the local elephant that died in the zoo and was sold as prime quality beef, don't ask me, how should I know? It's sold by foodbrokers in huge frozen blocks, frozen in some cases for years, is transported in these frozen blocks into factories and then finds its way into the type of food slobs eat.

Slobs?

Well, be honest, any self-respecting cook finds time to choose healthy foods, fresh foods, and enjoys cooking them. It's the couch potatoes that go to the local super-duper-hypermarket, load up with frozen ready meals, then come home, bang them in the microwave and six minutes later are lying on their backs shoveling monkeys' armpits into their guts, and enjoying it.

I think I am going to become a vegetarian

Well you have a lot of new friends there. But then again of course don't assume you are protected from eating transgenic foods just because it does not say "TRANS" on the label. That stuff is in everything.

How safe is it?

How high is a Chinaman? A Big Mac is safe, one...but eat one for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week for six months and then tell me it's safe.

So they are poisoning us...

In a word, yes. What they sell you is accepted and acceptable (for them) doses of unhealthy food, which eaten in a "balanced" diet (in other words, spread out during the month with all sorts of other unhealthy foods and the odd salad thrown in) makes you chronically unhealthy much later in life. The time will come when they decide that we have lived long enough and then the water will start tasting funny. But don't worry about it, it's the same for everyone... we're all in the same boat.

So what's the solution? Go to Bologna for your spaghetti Bolognese?

As a matter of fact, no. Bologna is the one place in Italy where they don't eat spaghetti Bolognese, they eat tagliatelli. And anyway spaghetti doesn't come from Italy either, it comes from Libya, where it was called al Itteriya.

The solution is for all of us to campaign for transparent labeling, a free circulation of information and safe food, meaning food we can eat daily and not get ill. This of course means we avoid the places that sell this stuff and take our custom to the butcher, baker and greengrocer, if they still exist.

Goodbye corporatism, welcome back healthy food!

 Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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