“The supplier will hire someone to make the lasagnas, who will then source their meat from more than one meat trader,” Temple explains. “There are in-between steps the average public doesn’t know exist: there are traders trying to get the best money, processors who are just making the mince, and there’s the abattoir. When you get processed food, there are so many more steps in the food supply chain: [adulteration] can happen at any step.”
One company that came out of the U.K. horsemeat scandal proudly was McDonald’s. Because of its low prices, many expected McDonald’s had to be cutting corners somewhere in the meat production process, but it wasn’t.
“In the U.K., they’ve been buying their meat from the same supplier for 40 years, and the chain is really short: farm, abattoir, processor, McDonald’s,” Temple says. “Developing longstanding relationships is a way that industry can reduce its vulnerability.”
Another way for industry to ensure that the meat it’s buying is legitimate is DNA testing—a sure-fire, yet expensive method. Temple cites the growing number of fish companies who have resorted to DNA testing fish sourced from China to ensure that it is what suppliers claim it is.