food scandal

Food Scandals



media attract fair deal (2)
chain (2) scandal substance
intend lubricant make their way
dioxin decisive consumption
fodder coalition contaminate
policy bolster cost-effective
risk likelihood opposition
rely breed (3) time being
ensure precisely considerably
inspect watchdog put forward
monitor authority responsibility
tough cover (2) uncover (2)
falsify proposal water down
lobby spotlight sustainable





A pig.

Not an everyday sight in Berlin’s government district. Not surprisingly, this visitor attracted a fair deal of media attention.

Pigs, after all, are at the center of the latest food-safety scandal in Germany.

Ilse Aigner (CSU), German Agricultural Minister: “Substances intended to be used for making lubricants made their way into the food production chain.

That’s a real scandal.

Dioxin doesn’t belong in animal feed — and certainly not in food for human consumption.”

Agricultural Minister, Ilse Aigner, was quick to recognize the problem, but it took her two weeks to take decisive action.

This producer of animal feed added industrial fats to it fodder, which is illegal and then falsified its laboratory samples.

The result: animal feed contaminated with dioxin entered the food production chain.

First it came out that eggs exceeding the permitted levels of dioxin had been sold . . . then chicken . . . and most recently pork.

These days most agriculture is industrialized.

The goal is to work as cost-efficiently as possible.

Opposition parties say government policies bolster industrialized farming.

Barbel Hohn (Greens), Member of the Bundestag: “Feed producers are also under pressure. The current policies increase the risk of contamination in animal feed.

So the policies you support increase the likelihood of food scandals.”

Farm operations are highly specialized.

Farmers who breed pigs usually don’t grow their own feed. Instead they rely on dealers to buy animal feed — which is made up of any number of combined substances.

Reinhild Benning, Environmentalist: “It’s particularly the industrialization of raising animals that increases the risks: a single feed manufacturer was able to contaminate thousands of farms in Germany.

We need to return to an agricultural system in which farmers largely grow their own feed.”

And that’s precisely what organic farmers do, which is why many consumers are buying organic for the time-being.

They’re hoping the organic produce is free of contaminants.

But it’s usually, considerably, more expensive.

Gerd Billen, Consumer Watchdog Association Chairman: “Quality isn’t free. Consumers have to realize that. They’re getting that message.

But it has nothing to do with the question of safety. All food has to be safe — cheap food has to be safe too.

And it’s the government’s job to ensure that.”

But one problem for Berlin is that the inspection for animal feed makers is the responsibility of state governments.

The federal agricultural minister in Berlin has little authority over their operations.

But under the action plan put forward by Aigner, in the future, the federal government can monitor inspections.

Ilse Aigner (CSU), German Agricultural Minister: “The lesson is that we have to work together to act fast.

What happens here appears to have been a criminal act. Such things have to be uncovered more quickly.

And we have set up the right system to do that.”

The minister’s ten-point plan receives strong support within the governing coalition parties.

Under her proposals, feed makers would have to apply for a license, inspections would be made tougher and consumers better informed.

The ideas are hardly new.

Ulrich Kelber (SPD), Member of the Bundestag: “Proposals are watered down till the media spotlight is turned away, and then buried under pressure from lobbyists.

That can’t happen again this time, otherwise consumers will lose all trust. They’re tired of all these scandals.”

Organic pork farmer, Rudolf Buhler says it would be easy to rid farming of many risks.

Rudolf Buhler, Organic Farmer: “We need to adopt a completely different policy. We have to support ecological and sustainable and regional models of farming as the way forward for the future.

That’s the only way we’ll solve the problem.”

And it’s up to the politicians to get farmers to raise their animals the way Rudolf Buhler does.


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1. A pig was in the government district of Berlin. Had it escaped from a farm or did it wander there from the forest?

2. What was the food scandal in this video? It affected only one sector. Is this correct or wrong? Was this an accident or was it deliberate?

4. Did the government respond immediately and quickly? Why didn’t it respond quickly?

5. What is the underlying cause of the food contamination? What is the solution? What is happening?

6. According to the opposition, government policies contribute to food scandals. True or false? What is the government’s plan to improve the situation?

7. Are the government’s proposals completely new? What often happens?

8. What is the organic farmer’s solution?


A. Have there been food-safety scandals where you live? What happened?

B. What are the causes of these problems?

C. What are some solutions?

D. Organic produce is becoming more popular. Yes or no?


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