This is well worth a read for anyone who's following this.

It's interesting as showing how politics can help to bring about a situation like this:

What Mr Paterson recognised from the start, unlike any other politician in Britain, was that the root of the problem lay in what had followed when, a decade ago, the EU took over all “competence” to make food law from national governments. It promptly introduced a new set of rules across Europe, to replace the old dependence on regular inspection and testing of foodstuffs with a radical new system. The EU’s version of what is known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is based on a trail of paper, whereby any food product, as it passes along the chain from one firm to another, must be acccompanied by a piece of paper certifying its nature and contents.
Owen Paterson has taken control of the EU meat crisis - Telegraph

Introduce a fake document into this paper trail and whole "system", if it may be called that, collapses.

I've very little time for politicians -- and certainly not for the British Prime Minister and Chancellor -- but I heard Owen Patterson being interviewed on the news while sitting in a pub, and could immediately sense his quality. He didn't explain the above, but just came across in an almost indefinable way as someone who was well-informed and knew what he was talking about.

I also found this piece instructive as illustrating the "sentimental" (in the sense of fake) emotions of some persons in the political arena:

The Labour spokesman Mary Creagh, her face screwed up with self-righteous rage, was so determined to blame Mr Paterson for what she imagined was his failure to respond to the crisis that she merely demonstrated that she hadn’t got a clue what she was talking about.
And she should have known, having worked for the EU in Brussels. The same went for:

Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Commons’ food committee, despite having been a Tory MEP for 10 years, had already been calling on Mr Paterson to impose a ban on imports, unaware that such a ban can only be imposed by Brussels on food safety grounds
As is also the case with many dieticians, "obesity researchers", "evolutionary psychologists", and others (including some academics), there are people in parliament who just don't inform themselves before shooting their mouths of.

This article also shows the press up rather embarrassingly. One newspaper -- the Observer -- misunderstood the technical EU legal phrase "competence" and assumed the word "incompetence" had been used. Subsequently, several newspapers, including the Times (of London) repeated the Observer's error.

A sad tale.