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Thursday, February 14, 2013

100% funny

From time to time there have been allegations in the U.S. that hamburger patties and similar beef products at fast food restaurants were not, in fact, entirely beef. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, McDonald's and Wendy's faced persistent allegations that they used worms to extend their ground beef. After extraordinary expenditures on advertising, the rumors died out. Two years ago there were assertions that Taco Bell's beef mix contains a significant percentage of oatmeal and other fillers. That turned out to be mostly untrue.

Here in the UK, a scandal is progressing that meat from horses and pigs -- sometimes mere traces -- has been found in packaged ground beef and ready-to-eat products like meat lasagna. Every newspaper and BBC newscast leads with the latest about the scandal, which first was blamed on products imported into the UK but now has applied to domestic producers too.

But whether the scandal is real or inflamed by the media and whether Europeans in general are too uptight about food supply are not my point. If you've ever watched the weekly Prime minister's questions on TV, you know it can be immensely entertaining. Yesterday PM David Cameron was asked by an outraged MP from the opposition: "Are you still eating processed beef?" It's difficult to imagine the Right Honourable Mr. Cameron, most definitely a member of the upper class, eating a burger for lunch (in contrast to Barack Obama). But then the second, devastating question was raised: "The Prime Minister is rightfully shocked at the revelations that many food products contain 100% horse. Does he share my concern that, if tested, many of his answers may contain 100 per cent bull?"

That's really funny. Here's the video of the expertly deadpan delivery by MP Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party. And you can tell that his colleagues didn't know it was coming.