Rotten to the bone: discourses of contamination and purity in the European horsemeat scandal
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In early 2013 Europe was subject to a moral panic regarding the presence of horse flesh in beef products. Posited as a 'scandal' and often referred to in the media as 'the horsemeat scandal', this topic amassed a large amount of media reports and commentary as well as eliciting police investigations, raids and arrests along with a UK-wide survey of authenticity by the British food safety watchdog, the Food Standards Agency. At the time of writing (and the 'scandal' continues) 'mislabled' meat products have been found in the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. Commentators have argued that the 'scandal' demonstrates the complexity of the food industry's supply chains in a globalized world while others have been quick to claim that neo-liberal, free market profiteers are to blame (Hutton, 2013).