Donkeymeat: You have no way of knowing what's in processed food
If you eat, say, frozen foods then you have no idea what is *really* in your food and have no way of knowing, save hiring your own science crew. That's the lesson we are learning from the Horsemeat (really mostly donkey meat) scandal rocking Europe right now.
The labels said beef. And maybe the folks that made it even thought it *was* beef. But at some point down the line it was really donkeys and horses and maybe other things, too. And those animals were ground up in Romania and shipped to Cyprus where somebody removed the horsemeat label and slapped on a new one saying beef.
We are fooling ourselves if we think this is an isolated incident. The only way you can make sure what you're eating is what you think you are eating is to cook it yourself, from raw ingredients, and to buy from sources you trust. Otherwise who knows how much plastic is in your food (like with SOFT BATCH cookies, softened by plastic), how much corn is in your food, how much wood pulp is in your food (anything frozen and creamy is likely full of wood pulp), how much ammonia is in your food, or how much donkey and horse and dog and rat is in your food.
Is horse and donkey safe to eat? Probably. But you have a right to expect that what is in the tin is what you paid for.
Intense price pressure from retailers and discounters is forcing food manufacturers to purchase ingredients from all around the world, including preprocessed foodstuffs. This has resulted in enormous flows of goods, and once these products have passed through the hands of three, four or more middlemen before they reach manufacturers, it becomes extremely difficult to trace their origins. This jungle of cross-border trading gives criminals a golden opportunity to re-label commodities. After all, the authorities have little control over what is stored and transferred in Europe's cold storage warehouses.
A prime example is Werk II, a refrigerated warehouse in the western German town of Neuss, which served as a gateway for a large proportion of the allegedly tainted frozen convenience food to enter the country. In December and January alone, at least 14 shipments were unloaded here, and then sent to supermarket chains. The concrete complex in the district of Norf serves as a transshipment center for goods from across Europe. A sign in German, English, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian directs delivering drivers to the reception office.
This is only one of many such warehouses. Last week, the European Commission warned of 310 deliveries from Tavola since August 2012. This concerns the noodle dishes carried by German food retailers -- but the same product was also supplied to Denmark under the "Budget" brand name, delivered to ICA supermarkets in Norway under the "Delish" name, sold in France by leading grocery stores including Casino and Carrefour, and purchased by other customers under the "Findus" brand.