Beware The Horse Meat In Beef Burgers

Horse Meat Beef Burger

Horse Meat Beef Burger ~ from The Telegraph

Horse meat in beef burgers is akin to foreign matter contamination in food products. It should not have been there in the very first place. Whilst horse meat is consumed in parts of the world, its consumption in the United Kingdom is taboo. We can imagine the uproars by its consumers and the bad publicity for the supermarket chains and the meat suppliers. This is another risk to reputation for the purveyors of meat and the food industry.

A Completely Unacceptable State Of Affairs…

British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the situation as “a completely unacceptable state of affairs” and called for an urgent investigation by its Food Standards Agency (FSA). So must the supermarket chains and their suppliers.

Horse Meat Consumption…


Whilst horse meat is a taboo food in the UK, USA and Ireland, the 5 biggest horse meat-consuming countries (in 2005 from Wikipedia) were China, Mexico, Russia, Italy and Kazakhstan. In Japan, horses are raised for their meat and come mainly from Kumamoto, Nagano and Oita prefectures and are eaten raw as basashi. And in Europe, you can get horse meat steaks and related cuisines in France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and a few others.

Hang Goat’s Head, But Sell Dog’s Meat…

The consumption of horse meat itself is not a health risk to humans. The improper labelling or the lack of sufficient labelling causes serious grief to people of different religious faiths. The presence of pig DNA in products labelled as beef  is a more serious breach to them on religious grounds than on cultural ones. They have been misled into buying what-they-thought-to-be beef products, but which have been contaminated by other animals. It just reminded me of a Chinese saying – Hang Goat’s Head, But Sell Dog’s Meat.

FSAI’s Findings…

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) main findings are summarised here. A total of 27 burger products were analysed, with 10 of them containing traces of horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA.In addition, 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, were analysed, of which 21 tested positive for pig DNA.

Adulterated Foods…

Unfortunately, there are many many more everyday foods that are tainted and adulterated. There are fakes, yes fake eggs for example. Then there are “recycled” food items. Perhaps I should allow the prevailing ‘horse meat’ beef burgers shock to settle first – to prevent our sensitivities from being over-stretched. My next post will deal with this topic.

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