HORSE MEAT AND OTHER SCANDALS

Posted in opinion on February 15th, 2013 by John Coxon

It’s time we took another hard look at the labelling of all meat products sold in the UK and in particular , more than ever now,  in the light of recent scandals,  I  am sure I am not alone  in wanting to know precisely where any meat product I buy was originally sourced so I can make an informed choice.

There is still too much bull on all meat food labelling and not enough actual meat!

There is still too much bull on all meat food labelling and not enough actual meat in the actual packaging!

Few people can be really surprised at the current string of horse meat scandals where particularly  processed meat products, sourced in the main outside of the UK , and sold as “value” items in a range of supermarkets  have been found to contain often high percentages of horse DNA. The custom of importing large quantities of cheaper meat products  is just one of the ways supermarkets in particular can achieve lower production costs but the real problem is how to regulate meat producers and processors who supply retailers the UK  from countries where  food legislation ( and its enforcement)  is far more lax and therefore likely more prone to be the source of  such abuses.

The UK has some of the most stringent animal welfare regulations in the world but a great deal of meat is imported into Britain from countries who often have much poorer animal welfare practices .

It's outrageous how much water is added to bacon legally  but just to bulk up the weight and profit

It’s outrageous how much water is added to bacon legally but just to bulk up the weight and profit

Half the bacon sold in UK comes from the  Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Italy and 43% of other pork products come from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, where  poorer conditions than exist in the UK on pig farms are allowed and naturally for farmers in those countries production costs are lower than they are in UK farms and that is why supermarket buyers shop around those countries.

 

Like many people the horse meat scandals have horrified (but actually not surprised)  me and indeed I expect there to be far more horror stories before this tale has run to its logical conclusion. It is a certainty that the basis of these scandals is going to be organised criminal fraud on, very probably, a much larger scale than we would like to imagine.

 

On the plus side it has made many people far more aware of meat labelling and that can only be a good thing because I firmly believe that the standards we currently have still leave a lot to be desired. When you look at food standards here, “meat” is a pretty loose description and such delicacies as burgers, pasties, sausages rarely have, perfectly legally , a particularly high actual meat content and include other additives and fillers and also in many cases bulked up in weight with injected water.  (For example uncooked bacon said to contain “not more than 15 per cent added water  can legally contain up to 25 per cent water, ham can contain as much as 30% water  and it is not uncommon for supermarket poultry to contain as much as 40% water)

For me one of the simple ways or making such frauds less likely would be if it became mandatory to state on packaging the actual country of origin of the meat content and outlaw products whose meat content is sourced from more than one country . For me it is simply no longer  good enough that ,for example,  packs of ham and bacon in my fridge  merely state produced within the EU  or from producers “ either from “Germany or Denmark” – I think we should demand to know the actual country because within the European Union , despite the rhetoric of pan EU food legislation and labelling , good practice and honest trading are not uniform in all EU countries and indeed controls and animal welfare standards vary considerably.

HILLHEAD 2014

Posted in construction Industry Photography, Coporate event photography on February 4th, 2013 by John Coxon

HILLHEAD 2014- World class UK exhibition site for quarrying, recycling and construction heavy plant equipment

(Please click on any image for a larger view

I first visited Hillhead in 2010 with photography press credentials in hand following a local demolition and recycling company ( I’d worked for providing PR and Marketing photography expertise) who were exhibiting as amongst other things ,  agents for the prestigious USA heavy plant company Case. That provided me with a number of great general photography opportunities to record the full range of items on display and being demonstrated at this impressive and vibrant event. Samples  of my total coverage during a long but enjoyable full day of working can be seen in slideshow form by following this link to give you a flavour of what to expect at this awesome location and event.

click this image to view a small sample of the hundreds of images I took when covering Hillhead professionally in 2010

click this image to view a small sample of the hundreds of images I took when covering Hillhead professionally in 2010

HILLHEAD 2010

This bi-annual prestigious, superbly organised exhibition site brings together, in huge  place, all sectors of the mineral products and construction industries, including quarrying, mining, recycling, concrete, asphalt and materials handling .

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The biggest trade fair of its kind in the world  it gives visitors from the UK and overseas  a unique opportunity to see the latest plant, equipment, systems and services on static display and, importantly accommodates  a large number of live demonstrations.

Heavy plant vehicles being demonstrated in the appropraite context of an actual quarry.

Heavy plant vehicles being demonstrated in the appropraite context of an actual quarry.

In what was the fifteenth time the exhibition has been run,   2012 saw ever  record numbers of visitors and exhibitors from around the world  with an impressive  429 leading international exhibitors and 17083 visitors up over  2000,  (+10%  )  on attendance figures for  2010. It boasted more  new plant and equipment and more live demonstrations than ever before.

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The unique  showground is based in rugged environment of an actual  quarry , Tarmac’s Hillhead Quarry in the Pennine Hills, near Buxton  in Derbyshire  thus facilitating a range of outdoor working demonstrations of heavy plant vehicles and other machinery in a genuine working environment,  It  covers an area of some 140,000m2 and includes outdoor displays, covered pavilions, on site hospitality facilities  and extensive working demonstration areas.

static displays allow potential customers to get hands on experience of new models with expert help at hand from exhibitors.

static displays allow potential customers to get hands on experience of new models with expert help at hand from exhibitors.

Sandvik Construction enjoyed their best ever Hillhead with nearly 3,000 visitors from all corners of the globe coming to their stand during the three show days. Hugh Glandfield, vice-president UK & Ireland for Sandvik Construction, commented: ‘Hillhead has always been the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our product lines and meet our customers, but this year we were truly staggered by vast number of potential new customers and general visitors who came to the Sandvik stand.

Getting up close to exhibits on site

Getting up close to exhibits on site

That demonstrates what makes Hillhead unique, it is the quality of visitors from all over the world  and how many of them see the various products in static and demonstration displays leading to so many solid sales leads for exhibitors. As another example, an obviously thrilled Alex Andrews, marketing development manager at Finning UK, said the company had picked up 1,000 leads on day one and even more on day two. ‘It was a very good show,’ she commented. ‘The foot flow on our stand on the middle day alone was about what we had expected for all three days! There were also a lot more international visitors than we had anticipated.’

Always plenty to see and do at this vibrant event

Always plenty to see and do at this vibrant event

 

As always at Hillhead, the main attraction for many visitors is the multitude of equipment on live display in the showground’s three working demonstration areas. with no shortage of machinery taking part in the action. Nowhere was this more evident than in the ever-expanding quarry face area where around two dozen of the latest wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators and dumptrucks from all the major manufacturers, plus various other items of machinery and equipment, were put through their paces in front of an enthralled audience.

Exhibitors - plenty of great PR photography  opportunities

Exhibitors – plenty of great PR photography opportunities

For an excellent  review in great detail , with full descriptions of the various machinery and vehicles on show and in active demonstrations together with and comments from major exhibitors with reference to the benefits to their business of exhibiting here follow this link from Quarry News  HILLHEAD REVIEW 2012

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The big three day event is next scheduled for June 24th -26th 2014  where it is widely anticipated that will be even bigger and better  and on the strength of previous experience you can have no doubt it will.  Why not visit the exhibitions comprehensive website for list of exhibitors, site and visit plans, direction and accommodation details and up to date industry news and about  additional exhibitors.  HILLHEAD 2014

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Contact me any time  to book my PR and marketing and corporate event  photography services whether you are  a local business or a major manufacturer and or supplier of heavy plant to the kind of industries represented at this exhibition or to work on site on your behalf in Greater Manchester and the North West either by email johncoxon.com@gmail.com  or via my mobile on 07989 300 104 To find out more about my corporate and construction industry PR and marketing photography services please click here :-

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES

click on this image to view some of my photography work for more  local demolition and construction buisnesses

click on this image to view some of my photography work for more local demolition and construction buisnesses

 

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