Local butchers reaping the benefits of horsemeat scandal

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Horses for courses, odds-on menu favourite, lunch on the hoof – the jokes keep on coming in light of the ongoing scandal following the discovery of horsemeat in a number of processed meals.

But in reality, the revelations are no joke.

Regardless of whether or not you would eat horsemeat were it served up to you – and many people would, it seems – the continuing saga has got a lot of people talking.

The main issue for many, including some of our readers who contributed to the discussion on our Facebook page, is not so much the fact that horsemeat has turned up in our food chain, but that we were lied to. We were told we were eating beef. And if manufacturers or suppliers have lied about that, what else have they lied about? What else could be in the ready meals we serve up to our children and families?

The Food Standards Agency has ordered tests on Findus beef lasagne, to find out whether there are traces of phenylbutazone or “bute”, an anti-inflammatory painkiller for horses. This painkiller is used a lot on horses, but is never intended to get into the food chain.

However, where there are clouds, there are silver linings, and this week local butchers have been telling us how the scandal has led to an increase in their business, with some seeing an extra 50-60 customers through their doors.

And no wonder. With our strong farming community and many of our Borders butchers sourcing their meat locally, it has to be worth paying extra to ensure, not only a great-tasting product, but also peace of mind that what you are eating is as expected – whether it be fresh meat to make your own meal from scratch, or a ready meal prepared by the butcher.

It really does pay to shop local.