DUNCAN BARKES: Why are we willing to pay for phones, but not for food?

THE horsemeat scandal puts this country’s attitude to food in the spotlight.

Moaners should realise that if they had cooked properly, and were not so reliant on convenience foods in the first place, they wouldn’t now be fretting about possibly having eaten Dobbin or his chums.

I am not making excuses for the horsemeat debacle.

Apart from the massive trust issue to be addressed, if criminal gangs have somehow infected the food chain then they should of course face the full force of the law.

But the great British public have a pretty unhealthy attitude to food.

Many think nothing of forking out for the latest smartphone, Sky satellite subscription or video game, yet they seem to resent paying for a decent piece of meat.

It is not just the unwillingness to invest in food, but the inability to actually produce meals from scratch.

You do not need to be the sharpest steak knife in the cutlery drawer to cook up a pan of spaghetti bolognese, although it’s high time that proper cookery lessons were once more a compulsory part of the curriculum.

It is simple: unless you buy the raw ingredients yourself and create a meal with them, you can never be truly sure of what you are putting into your tummy.

Food for some has just become another box to be ticked. I have little sympathy for those who fill their supermarket trollies to the brim with frozen ready meals and then kick off when it is discovered they are eating horsemeat, along with a pile of preservatives and other chemical muck.

What do you expect if you buy a frozen lasagne for just over a quid?

People have become lazily reliant on cheap, heavily-processed convenience foods.

If competition among manufacturers were not so fierce, encouraged by demand from the customer, we may not be in this mess.

If you are genuinely shocked that there is horsemeat in your cheap ready meal, budget burger or high-street kebab, then frankly you are naïve.

We have plenty of farm shops and butchers in this area. Use them.

Cook with fresh ingredients and start taking responsibility for what you eat.

Do you agree with Duncan? Are we too lazy when it comes to our food? Or does modern living make convenience food essential?

Write to letters@chiobserver.co.uk and let the Observer know what you think.