chapter  16
20 Pages

‘Who said we’re flogging a dead horse?’: reframing ethics and the supply chain

WithMatthew Higgins, Nick Ellis

The arrest and subsequent release of Willy Selten in late May 2013 marked a significant moment in what has been dubbed the European horsemeat scandal. Selten, a director of a now bankrupt meat wholesaling firm was being investigated for false accounting and fraud by allegedly supplying adulterated beef. His meat processing plant in the southern Dutch city of Oss was suspected of obtaining and relabelling horsemeat as beef and allowing this produce to enter the food chain through the supply to a myriad of different processing firms located around Europe. The horsemeat was sourced from suppliers in the Netherlands, England and Ireland, with concerns that this meat was contaminated with phenylbutazone. Whilst some 50,000 tonnes of potentially contaminated meat was recalled by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the incident has highlighted a problem of transparency and accountability within the food chain. As regulatory authorities took measures to reassure consumers of the safety, identity and provenance of their food products, reports of the supply chain extending beyond Europe has illustrated the global nature of contemporary supply chains (Glotz, 2013).