'No horse meat here' say Falmouth and Penryn butchers

Butcher Martin Tonkin, from Myatts of Falmouth, with a primal cut of beef

Butcher Martin Tonkin, from Myatts of Falmouth, with a primal cut of beef

First published in News
Last updated
Falmouth Packet: Photograph of the Author by , Ex-Reporter/Photographer

Butchers and abattoirs in Falmouth and Penryn say they have seen a rise in customer confidence this week after cheap meat imported from Ireland and Europe was found to contain horse.

Traditional meat retailers are confident that customers who feel betrayed by misleading packaging and dubious quality meat in some ready meals and cheap supermarket ranges are starting to make a return to the high street.

Since January 16 - when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland first announced that certain types of readymeals sold in major supermarkets Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland were found to contain horse DNA - Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, Waitrose and fast food outlet Burger King have also removed products from their shelves.

Some products made by Findus have been found to contain 100% horsemeat while Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolgnese was found to contain 60% horsemeat. All these products have now been removed from supermarket shelves and an investigation is being carried out.

Retailers have blamed suppliers while critics of the affected supermarket chains have pointed to overly complex supply routes that can see frozen ready meals sold in the UK after being assembled in France from ingredients sourced in Eastern Europe.

Butcher Martin Tonkin, from Myatts of Falmouth, thinks the root cause of the problem is supermarkets “pushing down the prices to get things so cheap” leading suppliers to include cheaper, more suspect meats in their products in a bid to bulk them out.

Robert Trevarthen, of Roskrow Abattoir near Penryn, agrees that “it’s financial gain, that’s what it’s for.”

He said: “You can go to a supermarket and buy, I don’t know, 20 economy burgers for 20p each and they’re not going to be good quality.

“These supermarkets are very powerful. Businesses likes ours would never survive a scandal like that but they’re big enough to get away with it.”

For their part, both Asda and Tesco have vowed to introduce their own DNA testing for the meat products they stock while frozen food brand Findus issued an apology and product recall after independent testing showed horse meat in their beef lasagne.

But consumer confidence in the major supermarkets is already dented and Mr Tonkin thinks that can only be “good for us and the high street in general.”

“If people shop at their local butchers then they know where the meat comes from, know where it’s sourced and you are guaranteed good quality,” he said.

“At the end of the day, if you are told it’s horse you have got the choice, if you are not told it’s horse than you haven’t.

“It’s probably been going on for years and years and nobody knew until now.”

Mr Trevarthen, who sells meat wholesale as well as running his abattoir near Penryn, is similarly confident of a boost in trade.

He said: “I’m sure it will be a positive for the smaller independent butchers. We have got four shops of our own and we have seen a marked improvement in mince and burgers especially.

“People say they get their meat from the supermarket because it’s cheaper but that’s a lot of nonsense really, it’s just a perception people have got.”

Strong policing of the trade in Cornwall means Mr Trevarthen “honestly can’t believe” that horse has found its way into beef products, he said.

Adding: “I see everything living here before it’s killed, if there was a horse in there I would know about it.”

Comments (9)

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6:25pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Wave says...

A criminal can operate through the supply chain of a supermarket, or through a local butcher.
You can't presume quality or legality in either.
But it might be easier to build a level of trust and knowledge from a local butcher, if you are not being fooled of course.
A criminal can operate through the supply chain of a supermarket, or through a local butcher. You can't presume quality or legality in either. But it might be easier to build a level of trust and knowledge from a local butcher, if you are not being fooled of course. Wave
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Lanty Slee says...

A criminal can operate anywhere Wave.

I think the point is, your beef is more likely to be made out of cow if that cow has been reared, slaughtered and butchered locally.

Most, if not all, of the meat that's making the headlines at the moment comes from abroad.
A criminal can operate anywhere Wave. I think the point is, your beef is more likely to be made out of cow if that cow has been reared, slaughtered and butchered locally. Most, if not all, of the meat that's making the headlines at the moment comes from abroad. Lanty Slee
  • Score: 0

3:06am Fri 15 Feb 13

Wave says...

A local butcher can source their cheap meat from abroad, just like a supermarket can. Makes no difference.
I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers.
A local butcher can source their cheap meat from abroad, just like a supermarket can. Makes no difference. I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers. Wave
  • Score: 0

7:13am Fri 15 Feb 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Some butchers sell New Zealand lamb but I suppose it is a bit difficult to make a lump of horse look like a leg of lamb or a lamb chop.
Some butchers sell New Zealand lamb but I suppose it is a bit difficult to make a lump of horse look like a leg of lamb or a lamb chop. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Lanty Slee says...

Wave wrote:
A local butcher can source their cheap meat from abroad, just like a supermarket can. Makes no difference.
I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers.
"I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers."

True, but supermarkets are - by and large - evil.
[quote][p][bold]Wave[/bold] wrote: A local butcher can source their cheap meat from abroad, just like a supermarket can. Makes no difference. I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers.[/p][/quote]"I think this is a false separation between supermarkets and local butchers." True, but supermarkets are - by and large - evil. Lanty Slee
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Claudius says...

It doesn't stop there...how about fish mongers and Horse Mackerel.
It doesn't stop there...how about fish mongers and Horse Mackerel. Claudius
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

So how do I know what my leather boots are made out of.
So how do I know what my leather boots are made out of. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Tue 19 Feb 13

omdurman 1898 says...

Gillian Zella Martin 09 wrote:
So how do I know what my leather boots are made out of.
And how do you know what type of Meat is in your Pasty?

I guess one never thinks about it, you just never suspect that the Meat is anything other than Beef. However one has become slightly sceptical in the light of the recent Horse Meat scandal, so that one begins to become slightly 'Paranoid' about Pies, Meat Slices et al.
[quote][p][bold]Gillian Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: So how do I know what my leather boots are made out of.[/p][/quote]And how do you know what type of Meat is in your Pasty? I guess one never thinks about it, you just never suspect that the Meat is anything other than Beef. However one has become slightly sceptical in the light of the recent Horse Meat scandal, so that one begins to become slightly 'Paranoid' about Pies, Meat Slices et al. omdurman 1898
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Tue 19 Feb 13

bedoboy says...

A beef meal etc should be sold as beef but horse meat is very rich and tasty but should not eat regularly as high in chloresterol or the like.
A beef meal etc should be sold as beef but horse meat is very rich and tasty but should not eat regularly as high in chloresterol or the like. bedoboy
  • Score: 0

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