Agricultural ministers meeting in Brussels this week agreed that criminal activity stretching across the European continent is behind the horsemeat scandal.   In response, they’ve called for still more DNA testing of the continent’s meat and meat products. The accompanying infographic provided by the Australian Food Safety Institute shows the breadth and depth of the European horsemeat scandal. Horsemeat Infographic The scandal went public January 15 when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland announced that pig and horse DNA had been found in products purportedly made from beef. Horsemeat has now been found in beef and beef products in at least 14 European Union (EU) countries. IKEA’S Swedish meatballs, which are supposed to contain only beef and pork, were found to contain horsemeat in tests conducted by the Czech Republic. IKEA pulled the product in Europe from its take-home sales and furniture store cafeterias. Shortly after the Irish DNA tests were announced, fresh beef sold by several of Europe’s major supermarket chains was found to contain horsemeat.  Testing expanded to include frozen beef products and found horsemeat in packaged lasagnas and spaghetti Bolognese. Testing has pulled more countries and more brands into the growing scandal.  Countries now involved are as far flung as Romania and Sweden. In addition to IKEA, brands involved have included Burger King, Nestle, Bird’s Eye, Findus and many others. Three people were arrested in the United Kingdom in mid-February, but its not likely that those suspects have total awareness of the Europe-wide horsemeat conspiracy. The horsemeat was probably being more or less routinely passed off as beef, which is much more expensive, according to health officials. Fresh beef labeling has been more stringent in Europe since Britain and France both experience outbreaks of Mad Cow disease. European officials say whoever is passing horsemeat for beef is taking advantage of complex supply chains that are difficult to unwind. Whenever a mislabeled product is recalled for containing horsemeat, food manufacturers say food safety is not at issue.  However, there’s not much evidence that those involved in food fraud are much concerned about food safety. What the food manufacturers are trying to say is that mistaking horsemeat for beef should not make you sick, so long as it was not a race horse treated with the painkiller known as phenylbutazone, or “bute.”  So far, little if any of that has turned up in testing done by the Europeans. Infographic credit: Mike Stewart, Australian Institute of Food Safety

  • vickysecho

    Since horses are typically not bred and raised as ‘food’ animals and are ‘converted’ to a food animal, it is absurd to believe that horsemeat does not pose a health risk. What other species spends its life as a performance or recreational animal and is later converted to ‘food’? In the U.S., over 100,000 FDA unregulated horses are ‘converted’ into food animals at the stroke of a horse dealers pen. Horse dealers are allowed to create or fabricate a foreign document and declare the horse is drug free immediately after they acquire it and ship within a few days. The U.S. vets that sign the health certificates are NOT declaring the horse worthy of ‘food’, they only declare a visual inspection that a horse appears healthy enough to stand long enough to get to a slaughter facility. There is NO traceability for wholesomeness of U.S. horses and no documents are required by the U.S. FDA.

  • SundaysSilence

    I have a Horse  rescue and I have been around the horse industry all of my life and I can tell you there are alot of drugs Horses are pumped up with when they get to the auction barn and in most cases this is the last stop before the kill buyers bid on them for slaughter. I live in Pennsylvania were there is a huge Amish community and I know they give there Horses Bute and other meds before they take them to auction so they get the best price.  Most of these meds are Carcinogenesis. Horses are not livestock and should not be eaten they are companion animals. Dont believe me just go to your local auction barn a few times and you will see what really goes on. Common meds are Thyro-l ….Anti-hist….Banamine…..yearly shots for Rabies…and infectious disease controll…Dewormer meds given every six to eight weeks. the list goes on and on and on. The derby is comming in a few months hmmm wonder whos plate the horses that dont win will end up on ….pumped with all those good drugs. Stay hungry my friends.

  • This graphic is from the Australian Institute for Food Safety, but who needs them? If you read the fine print, you’ll see where the AIFS got its “facts”: Wikipedia’s horse meat page. Good to know that the horse meat eating world is getting its “nutritional facts” from the experts.

    Problem is, Wikipedia’s “horse meat” page isn’t where you find out what’s wrong with horse meat. You find that on Wikipedia’s “horse slaughter page.” And there is plenty wrong with it. But of course, the AIFS doesn’t tell consumers that, even though it’s a “food safety institute.” 

    This reference is just plain wrong: “A common medicine for horses that is dangerous to humans. So far no traces have been found.” Traces have absolutely been found, in quite a few places, for a very long time.  
    Great piece of marketing, but zero credible food safety info.