Food Safety Alters Europe's Farms ; as Beef Sales Fall, EU Farmers and Consumers Turn to 'Natural' Products

By Peter Ford writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, March 2, 2001 | Go to article overview

Food Safety Alters Europe's Farms ; as Beef Sales Fall, EU Farmers and Consumers Turn to 'Natural' Products


Peter Ford writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


What is deep red, tasty, and twice as popular in France as it was six months ago?

Horsemeat.

As one catastrophic illness after another breaks out among European livestock herds, the crisis is forcing fundamental changes in how farmers raise the continent's food. Sales of organic and free-range products are up sharply. "Locally grown" are the new buzzwords. Green politicians find their views suddenly in the mainstream. And consumers are radically reshaping their eating habits.

"I eat less meat than I used to, and I'm more vigilant about what I do eat," says Dominique Grandin, buying himself a piece of horse steak in Paris. Free-range horseflesh, he adds, is not only more likely to be free of disease. "It has taste, finesse, and it's tender."

Not everyone here has turned to the boucheries chevalines (horse butchers), identified by illuminated horses' heads over their doorways. But with fears that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease will spread beyond Britain and France adding to concerns about a "mad-cow epidemic," Europeans are turning away from beef in droves.

And on a continent that has turned itself into an agro- industrial powerhouse over the past half-century, relying on food and drink for exports of nearly $70 billion a year, widespread animal illnesses are a disaster.

Britain's beef industry almost collapsed in the wake of the mad- cow, or BSE, scare, and European officials are furious that the United States, Australia, and a host of other countries have banned the import of any European meat since foot-and-mouth was found in France. The bans are "excessive and unnecessary," European Union food-safety commissioner David Byrne complained in a speech last week.

But it's the tumbling consumption at home that hurts most. In Germany, beef sales are down by 70 percent since BSE was first discovered there in November. Across the continent, beef sales have dropped by 27 percent.

Over the past year, Europeans have been shocked to find dioxin in Belgian chicken feed and alarmed by the prospect of genetically modified grain in US imports, but it is BSE that has panicked them. Nor is there any sign that the illness, which recently spread to Spain, Germany, and France, will disappear soon, agricultural experts say.

The most dramatic plague to strike farmers, though, is the foot- and-mouth that is currently ravaging cattle, pig, and sheep farms in Britain, where more than 300 outbreaks have been reported in the month since it was first discovered.

Palls of smoke from the giant funeral pyres used to destroy suspect animals hang over the British countryside. About 278,000 animals have been destroyed, or are about to be destroyed, in a bid to prevent the further spread of the disease.

TV reports of tearful farmers watching years of careful breeding go up in smoke, or French voters walking through troughs of disinfectant to polling stations, have focused on the tragedy and the inconveniences of foot-and-mouth. But the harsh economic costs are becoming clear: In Britain alone, the current outbreak will cost $12.9 billion, the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research reported. And the tourism industry has been hard hit.

Experts say foot-and-mouth is highly infectious among cloven- hoofed animals, but poses little risk to humans. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Food Safety Alters Europe's Farms ; as Beef Sales Fall, EU Farmers and Consumers Turn to 'Natural' Products
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.