Horse Meat SCANDAL!

By Mehow Podstawski

On Monday February 25th, the furniture super-store, IKEA, found traces of horse DNA in their famous Swedish meatballs. Frozen batches of the delicacy were recalled in at least twelve European countries, and in total twenty-one recalls were made internationally. Some Burger King franchises in the United Kingdom have recently admitted to finding traces of horse meat in their hamburger patties as well; however, they claim to have never sold the product in restaurants. In addition, Nestle Spain has also found horse meat in their products and are now under inspection.

Ikea's famous swedish meatballs, found to contain traces of horse meat (Courtesy of NPR)

Ikea’s famous swedish meatballs, found to contain traces of horse meat (Courtesy of NPR)

Contrary to popular belief, the United States and Canada are not affected. According to an IKEA public statement, the meat used for the meatballs in North America are bought in the United States. Stores in Poland and Switzerland also use local suppliers and are not under suspicion.

Coincidentally, European Union officials happened to also meet on Monday. They dropped all their planned topics and discussed the horse meat found in a wide range of frozen supermarket meals that claimed to be beef. So far, the list of suspicious beef products includes meatballs, burgers, kebabs, lasagna, pizza, tortellini, ravioli, empanadas and meat pies, among many other items.

The scandal first began a little over a month ago when the first traces of horse and pig DNA were found in 23 out of 27 “beef” hamburgers by tests conducted in Ireland. Later, Tesco, the U.K.’s largest supermarket, found that these “beef” hamburgers were nearly a third horse meat, at an exact twenty-nine percent. The scandal specifically focused on a ready-meal beef lasagna manufactured in France. A study concluded that eleven out of the eighteen meals tested were made of sixty to one-hundred percent horse meat. As a result, the product has been off the shelves for weeks. The French company, Findus, is assisting in finding the dispenser of the illegal trade of horse meat when sold as “beef” or “pork”.

The fast food joint, Burger King has also admitted having traces of horse meat in its products (Courtesy of AP)

The fast food joint, Burger King has also admitted having traces of horse meat in its products (Courtesy of AP)

The suppliers of the horse meat are presumably focused on a few companies, specifically Irish company Silvercrest, or perhaps another company located in France left unnamed. These countries are being accused of being known for eating horse meat, not only as delicacies, but also during war when food was rationed. Silvercrest is being accused of acquiring meat from an unapproved Polish firm. This Polish firm most likely used horse meat for two reasons: it’s cheaper, and for its deep red color. This is uncertain, but the scenario exists.

But, what’s so wrong with horse meat? No one knows for sure but according to nutritionists, horse meat contains just as much protein, and far less fat than beef. Accordingly, there is a large concern to find traces of painkillers given to horses before slaughter, so that they are not ingested by humans

So what’s the big deal anyways? The horse meat outrage has had emotional effects on the people of Britain, especially after the 1990s fear of mad cow disease. No one has been harmed physically, but the cover up and lying done by companies is the main concern for citizens. When European Union officials had spoken, they were open to enacting tougher food labeling rules in order to ease people’s consciences . It seems that the problem lies with fraudulent labeling, not any potential health risk.

Featured Image Courtesy of AP

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