What is the Horsemeat Scandal?
One of the main news stories so far in 2013 has undoubtedly been the horsemeat scandal, which dominated the headlines in the middle of January and continues to be written about today. The story became public news once food inspectors in Ireland announced that meat from horses had been found in burgers which were made by Irish companies and sold within British branches of Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Tesco. The Food Standards Agency tested 2,501 samples of beef products from selected supermarkets and found traces of horsemeat in a shocking 29 of them.
The outrage which the nation felt upon discovering that horse DNA was found in numerous beef products across some of the most popular supermarkets in the UK was clear. People questioned how these two animals could be mixed up during the food manufacturing process and the reputations of the stores and suppliers were seriously tarnished.
What Other Companies Are Involved?
Amongst other companies affected were the catering company Compass Group and hotel chain Whitbread, both of which were found to have horse DNA in their products. Compass Group supplies food to both schools and hospitals, meaning that children as well as the sick and elderly are likely to have consumed meat from horses. At two unnamed colleges in Ireland, beef burgers supplied by Compass were found to contain up to 30% horsemeat. Whitbread is the company behind a number of the most recognisable hotel and restaurant brands in the UK, a including Premier Inn, Taybarns, Costa and Beefeater leaving many customers feeling incredibly disenchanted with what they thought to be trustworthy businesses.
How Has This Affected the Hotel Business?
As stated, many customers across the country are now feeling dissatisfied with Whitbread hotels and will undoubtedly be concerned about whether other hotels have been affected. Even independently run hotels will often use hotel suppliers for their catering products, and customers will want to know whether these suppliers will have been distributing contaminated meat. Hotels may find that, just like supermarkets, they too need to become much more transparent with the people who stay with them if they wish to keep customer confidence strong. Providing full details of food suppliers and menu ingredients will help to put people’s minds at ease about the quality of their food. They are likely to also take the same steps which supermarkets such as Tesco have taken by vowing to only use meat supplied by British farmers.