In a seemingly endless string of investigations into the European meat industry over the past year, another meat supplier has now been accused of introducing equine into its beef products. This time the culprit is meat pies produced in Latvia and the horse meat was once again not listed on the product in question. DNA testing performed by the Food Standards Industry (FSA) of the United Kingdom has revealed results which identify more than 1% horse meat in the food products of Gladin Klajies.
Whilst eating horse meat is taboo in many countries, it is consumed just like any other meat in other countries.
Another chapter in European horse meat scandal
Since the revelations made public by the FSA, the frozen meat pies have been recalled across Europe from supermarkets and other food distributors. The meat pies were sold in 200 gram packaged claiming on its label to be a “pie with minced meat”. No reference of course to the now discovered horse meat were of course provided on the packaging raising alarm to both the public and government food inspectors. Unfortunately for meat distributors across Europe, horse meat in their products is nothing new for this scandal ridden industry. Since DNA testing started by government agencies in December of 2012, horse meat and also pig meat have been traced to meat products where these animals were not included in the labelling description.
First announced on January 15th, 2013, the horse meat scandal centred on investigations into beef burgers sold in supermarket chains across Ireland and the United Kingdom. Testing of several meat products concluded the presence of horse DNA, in some cases meat products labeled as beef were found to consist of 100% horse meat.
During testing carried out by investigators across Europe on the meat sold in Irish and British markets, it was determined that a whopping 37% of the results indicated equine product was in the beef supply. Further testing revealed that 85% of the meat products in question contained pig meat where labelling indicated that the product contained only beef. The initial investigation targeted Irish-based Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in addition to British operated meat processor Dalepak Hambleton. All three companies were subject to harsh media criticism, recalls, and dropping sales due to the scandal.
Food taboo or health concern?
Industry experts insist that while the consumption of horse meat is considered taboo in most Western countries, there is in fact no real health threat from the horse meat. The issue that health inspectors are concerned with is primarily related to incorrect labelling by manufacturers regarding their products. Prompting the recalls across Europe, health inspectors contend that if the contents of meat products cannot be traced accurately enough to explain the presence of foreign animal species, the larger question of “what else is in the meat” begs to be explained by meat processors.
Further criticism has been brought forth by large Jewish and Muslim communities across Europe in reaction the concealed pig meat found in an overwhelming percentage of meat products tested. For religious regions these groups do not consume pork products but not it appears that many probably have now unwittingly consumed them by mistake.
DNA testing on horses
There are many tests which are carried out on domestic animals including cats and horses. These are carried out purely for the benefit of the animal or to help breeders select health generations of animals with health genes . Even bird sex determination, something so difficult to do just by examining the birds, is now done with a DNA test>> More information here.