Deception, in the abstract, is generally viewed as unacceptable. Except when it actually occurs. Then, we frequently find contradictions that make snap condemnations a little harder to formulate.
An interesting juxtaposition of examples illustrating the concept of deliberate deception was made last week in an editorial in Great Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, in which the author compared “bad beefburgers, Beyoncé and Lance Armstrong,” using them as Exhibits A through C of our dysfunctional social mores on . . . sincerity? Integrity? Honesty? Whatever one considers the opposite of deception.
The article began by lambasting the scandal that developed over the alleged inclusion of horsemeat into ground beef from Ireland—which authorities now say originated in raw materials from Poland—that was widely distributed in the United Kingdom at Tesco and other large retailers and foodservice operators. As many as 10 million frozen beef patties were recalled due to “contamination.”
As the newspaper phrased it, “British consumers were given contaminated meat courtesy of foreign farmers, pliant retailers and lax regulations.”
(Isn’t every food recall always the fault of the regulatory agencies? Who then have to endure withering criticism from groups and policymakers who lambaste the “heavy hand” of government on private business).
“With British shops selling beef burgers laced with horsemeat, Beyoncé lip-synching the national anthem or Lance Armstrong doping his way into the record books, what you see, taste or hear is not necessarily what you get,” the article stated.
No go on faux burgers
First of all, it’s objectionable to lump those three news items together.
Horsemeat, of course, does not belong as an “additive” in ground beef. But to label it “contamination” is misleading, albeit correct in the regulatory sense. The idea that beef “laced” with horsemeat needs to be immediately recalled and destroyed is ridiculous. In fact, the real deception here is the collusion of public officials who allowed the idea that horsemeat is a form of contamination to continue in the media. That’s the height of dishonesty.
Even The Guardian newspaper column admitted in a backhanded way that, “Worse things have long made their way into the food chain with nary an outcry—as Eric Schlosser pointed out in the book, Fast Food Nation, ‘There’s s**t in the meat.’ ”