Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Horsemeat scandal: German Greens in disarray

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Having virtually ignored the horsemeat scandal, the German media is now crawling all over it with the announcement that adulterated beef products may after all have been sold to German supermarkets.

This comes after supply lists from the EU have been obtained, from which it is clear that large amounts of frozen products have been delivered to the Federal Republic, which could contain mislabelled meat products. 

Thus, we have Spiegel, amongst others, reporting that the spokesman for the Consumer Ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia has said businesses in its region are implicated. 

Deliveries of suspect product took place between November 2012 and January 2013. A company in Luxembourg and a company from France could have delivered falsely declared meat. The suspect frozen foods, lasagna, among other things, may not only have reached North Rhine-Westphalia but also other regions of the country. 

They have been delivered not only to supermarket chains and discount stores, but also to other food businesses that deal with frozen products. The Environmental Agency is now checking the affected premises. Whether the affected horse meat frozen foods actually contain only a DNA test can confirm. The results were expected in three to five days. 

Interestingly, Die Zeit has the EU-loving Greens weeping and gnashing their teeth over the "international production chains". Aimed at cutting prices, they are a conduit for fraud and deceit, says the consumer policy spokesthing of the parliamentary party, Nicole Maisch. 

Forcing animals in "excruciating transports" to travel through several European countries in order to save a few cents, must belong to the past, says Maisch. Transport should be limited to four hours at home and eight hours abroad. Also clear labelling is needed. she adds. 

It strikes me that the Greens haven't quite got a handle on this. The crisis is about shipping meat around the continent, not animals. But then, the Greens have never been known to let a good crisis go to waste, so we can expect the usual mantras to surface. 

The irony is, of course, that their doctrine is the antithesis of the EU's own doctrine of free movement of goods and services within the internal market, which puts them at odds with the organisation they love so much. Being a Green, though, means not having to be intellectually consistent. 

Not making sense should never be allowed to spoil a Green campaign. Otherwise, they would have to remain silent forever.