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Just as a matter of context, the New York Times has a piece about the horse meat scandal in Europe, which has captivated the continent over the past month or so with every new discovery of beef products that contain trace amounts - and sometimes more - of horse meat.

This isn't just a food issue, the story suggests, but something much greater ... and the scandal has spotlighted what some people feel are fatal fault lines in the European Union.

Here's how the Times frames the story:

"The scandal has cast a pall over Europe’s proudest achievement — a vast common market that allows the free flow of goods and services across borders — and even the very idea that Europe’s different nations can somehow work together to set and enforce common rules.

"Consumers are increasingly asking a simple but discomforting question: Why, in a trading bloc notorious for regulating things like the shape of bananas and the font size on food labels, was something as simple as identifying the difference between a cow and a horse so difficult?

"And at a time of immense strains brought on by the euro crisis and Continentwide austerity — when new, anti-European political forces are rising in country after country — the horse meat scandal has brought into the open the deep divisions, cultural and otherwise, that bedevil the European Union. A meat that nearly all Britons consider revolting, for example, is cherished as a protein-rich delight by a small but loyal minority in places like Belgium, the home of the European Union’s Brussels bureaucracy and Europe’s biggest per capita consumer of horse meat. (Italy, with its larger population, eats the most horse over all.)

"For a surging camp of so-called Euroskeptics in Britain, the fact that horse meat has entered the food chain through a host of middlemen and factories scattered across the Continent stands as proof of unbridgeable cultural chasms that, in their view, make the European Union unworkable."

And at least one term has been reintroduced into the debate: country of origin labeling, the Times writes:

"Growing calls for mandatory 'country of origin' labeling on all processed meats sold in Europe have stirred concern in Brussels about a surge" in what one health official calls "veiled protectionism" ... " Until now, only unprocessed meat had to identify its place of origin."
KC's View: