No Horsing Around, The Horse Meat Scandal

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Have you ever eaten something and then regretted it?  Since moving here, I’ve occasionally eaten horse.  I buy it for American visitors to taste.  If you’ve watched the news lately, you can understand why I might be regretting it.  If you haven’t seen news stories about Europe’s horse meat scandal, here’s a recap.  Horse meat has been discovered in European beef products sold in supermarkets in countries including Britain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland.  Here, eating horse (particularly in countries like France and Switzerland) is commonplace; it’s estimated that each person in Switzerland eats between 600 and 700 grams of horse meat each year.

From The Swiss Watch Blog

There are two types of horses, ones that are given the powerful and dangerous veterinary drug called phenylbutazone (also known as Bute and banned for human use because to cases severe side effects) and those without who are issued health certificates certifying they can enter the food chain.   Can you guess what happened?

from afp.com

Spanghero, a French company, labeled the horse meat it received from a Romanian slaughterhouse as beef.  According to officials, Spanghero should have identified the meat as horse from its Romanian customs code, as well as its appearance, smell and price. The company said it acted in good faith, never ordered horse meat, and never knowingly sold horse meat.  Parisian prosecutors are now investigating it as fraud.

From Business Inquirer

The geographic scope of the scandal expanded this week.  While the quality of food and the food chain in Switzerland is quite high, Swiss company Nestle (the world’s largest food company) is now embroiled in the scandal.   It suspended deliveries of all products supplied by German subcontractor H.J. Schypke alleging they sold the contaminated meat to one of Nestle’s suppliers.  German discount retailer Lidl pulled products from Finnish, Danish and Swedish stores after finding horse meat in products labeled as beef.  German ministers met in Berlin earlier this week to discuss the scandal.

Horse meat scandal dominating the front pages

Horse meat scandal dominating the front pages (Photo credit: Gene Hunt)

But, wait, it gets worse…. The Swiss program, Kassensturz, showed emaciated horses being beaten, neglected and transported in cramped conditions without food or water before being slaughtered.  Apparently it was pretty disturbing.  In response,  several grocery stores, including Coop, Denner, Aldi, Spar and Migros, pulled most horse meat products off their shelves.  Coop and Migros continue to sell some from suppliers (mostly in Canada or France) in whom they have confidence.  It’s almost enough to make me a vegetarian again.  It’s definitely enough to reduce my meat consumption and be choosier about where I purchase it.

 

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Why CH?

If you have looked at any Swiss websites, you may have noticed that their country abbreviation is “ch”. This is also the country code/abbreviation you see on cars, money and stamps.

What does the CH stand for?  Confederatio Helvetica. Just don’t ask me how to pronounce it.

Switzerland has four official languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh) that each have their own word for Switzerland.  To not favor any one language, the Swiss use the Latin term for Switzerland, Confederatio Helvetica.  Problem solved.

Who were the Helvetians?  They were a tribe that lived in Switzerland that were beaten by Julius Cesar in 58 B.C.   They lived (more or less) in the borders of modern day Switzerland.  This isn’t terribly surprising as modern day Switzerland follows natural geographic boundaries (the Rhine, the Rhone, the Alps and the Jura).





Surprising Vevey

Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey.  You can easily see why.  It is a cute, calm, old town with breathtaking views and nice surprises.

 
 
 

The older area near the water is filled with belle époque era buildings.  They have covered the town in flowers.  There is a nice, lengthy lakeside promenade with many parks.  This makes it a perfect place to slow down, walk around and be pleasantly surprised.

This looks cool during the day
…and at night.
Definitely unexpected
 
The Museum of Alimentation (food) had an awesome vegetable/herb garden out front, definitely a nice surprise.*
 
Seeing kids jumping from the pool area into the lake was definitely surprising. Although if you saw the bridge jumping post, it is, perhaps, less so.
It would have been surprising if he had actually caught something.
 
A surprisingly good place to chill out,  we wished we had brought our suits.
 
 

This game was another surprise.  Please let me know if you know what they were playing.  It looked like fun.

 
It would have been surprising if we had jumped in the fountain.  We wanted to, but the kids wouldn’t get out. 
 
 
What?  You don’t see this every day?
 
 
 
Okay, the DeLorean wasn’t too much of a surprise, but the rest of the cars at the car show we stumbled into were.
 
* Nestlé is headquartered in Vevey.  They sponsor the museum and might have had something to do with the fork too.