Horsemeat bringing people to cavort

For years in continental Europe the food consumption-factories and chains do not take it so seriously about product-information and product-quality.

In the last few decades we have seen recycling of animal by-products back into the food chain, more than once with serious problems for the health of the consumers.

English: In mountain regions of Vietnam, peopl...

In mountain regions of Vietnam, people like to eat pork with a lot of fat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we walk into the supermarkets (Carrefour, Colruyt, Aldi, Delhaize) we could notice for several products that there was a deliberate misdescription of the food-packet, such as products substituted with a cheaper alternative, for example, farmed salmon sold as wild, chicken filet with pork, beefburgers and meatballs with pork, pita meat again with pork. Mostly we can find pork and pork derivatives in meat what is supposed to be other meat: beef, chicken, turkey and lamb. Even when we go to a pitashop we cannot be sure any more that we would receive lamb. It happened more than once that we bought a pita, and though we had asked it not having pork meat, it consisted out of pork. (I can tell quite quickly, being allergic to pork, so coming in problems after eating it.) Many forget that such a fraud deception or error can cause a lot of serious problems and in some cases even be deadly for allergic consumers.
We not only see the fraud in the normal food distribution. This occurs also with so called biological foods and also with vitamins and supplements, especially with so-called diet pills, memory boosters, energy boosters, and sexual performance enhancers.

Patés are also such dubious product, where we can not be sure if it is really made up from the wild game or not.

For years now we have been confronted with packing and selling of beef, poultry, tuna and salmon with an unknown origin. Normally it the European Union all food should be able to be traced backed, but on the labels of the presented food this is not always clear.

File:Japan cup noodle products over-packed Aug-2012.jpg

Japanese cup noodle – Photo: Sonneifer

In many case we also can see that false statements are made about the source of ingredients, i.e. their geographic, plant or animal origin. In the fast-food restaurants it is very easy to cheat and sell so called beefburgers, while they are made from soy-meat (cfr. Quick hamburger) All that mixing of food is done to make it cheaper and to do false concurrence to those firms who want to be honest to their public, selling that what they say they are offering, the sort of meat or fish or plant which meat, fish or plant it is.

Holland seems to be the very worst country in the Benelux, where plantfats are sold as butter, squashes and sugary products being sold as fruit juices, often even made with all different products than the so called flavour.

English: Baked pork chop rice from cafe de cor...

Baked pork chop rice from cafe de coral (a Hong Kong fast food shop) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Estimates say that 5-10% of the products on sale contain fraudulent claims, but when I go shopping I do have the impression that it is much more. And nobody seems to complain that they get cheap ‘koolvis’ or pollack for crab, paying much more than the value of the cheaper fish than cod, with no similar taste to crab at all. But some customers do not mind telling their visitors they offer ‘crab’ though they offer what is so ridiculously called ‘surimi crab’. The same for ‘Sturgeon caviar’ which seems to be Mississippi paddlefish. “Wild” salmon?  Most of what’s sold as “wild” salmon is actually farm-raised and been coloured according to the country of export its taste. Honey is also one of those products where a lot of money is being asked for but where we can find all sort of sugar and beet and cornproducts. The ‘Pure maple syrup’ does not escape the fraud (often being diluted with water and mixed with other cheaper syrups) and it even becomes very unclear what the grade should mean (Grades 1 to 5, nobody can exactly tell. Is Grade 5 top quality and not been heated? Or should Grade 1 be the best quality?)

The nutritional information label on a pack of...

The nutritional information label on a pack of Basmati rice in the United Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People want to be fooled it seems. You can wonder why there is not sometimes an alarm-bell ringing by the customer being able to buy some very cheap “meat”. Then they forget that often they even pay much too much for what they are getting, and are giving extra gain for the fraud.

But suddenly, when there became evolved the beautiful horse everybody went high up on their legs. In mid-January, Irish food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl. Two weeks later, pig DNA was found in supposedly halal products for Muslim prisoners. Earlier this month, it was reported that equine DNA had been found at a third factory in Ireland and tests commissioned by the FSA found horsemeat at a cold store in Newry, County Down. Now some of the public appeared to have been “cynically and systematically duped” for financial gain by parts of the food industry.

I ate these - ants in the Amazon 2003

I ate these – ants in the Amazon 2003 (Photo credit: exfordy)

Plenty of Britons are perfectly willing to eat cows, pigs, and chickens, but see horses as taboo, and do find it awful that there are persons who dare to eat such a lovely animal. They forget for others eating pig may be even more awful because that animal eats also all sorts of rubbish and is not clean at all. Others also do prefer to eat dog or cat and would not eat salmon, snakes, escargots, lobsters, scampi’s or shrimps or would shiver by somebody eating oysters. It is all a matter of eating habbits and customs of the region where people live and often has to do with certain trends at certain times, like eating crocodile, ants, kangaroo, grasshoppers, etc..

Some say “As soon as you give an animal a name, how can you eat it?” But than they forget many farmers do give their cows names, or they have lambs, sheep, with names. Though they also bring those beloved animals to the slaughterhouse and take care that they come into the foodchain.

The killing of horses for meat is in certain countries, and certainly in the United Kingdom of

Smoked and salted horse meat on a sandwich. Ph...

Smoked and salted horse meat on a sandwich. Photographed by myself in 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Great Britain and Northern Ireland an emotive subject as many people see them as companion animals rather than a food source, according to the RSPCA. Though for a long time they did not mind having those animals being used as cannon fodder.

Tesco has found some of its spaghetti bolognese meals contained 60% horsemeat. Findus products are also ‘bugged’ with horsemeat. In France, where seven supermarket chains have withdrawn all frozen beef meals made by Findus and Comigel, an initial investigation has found that horsemeat sold as beef originated from Romanian slaughterhouses, before being sold to a Dutch food trader, then on to a Cypriot trader and on again to a French firm.

It is feared up to 16 EU countries may be affected.

A platter of horse meat served at Kishlak, an ...

A platter of horse meat served at Kishlak, an Uzbek restaurant in Kazakhstan. The horse meat was served cold. There are three types on the platter: tripe on the left, roasted in the middle, and sausage on the right. The roasted meat tasted no different than roast beef. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can question what those Food Standards Agencies of those countries do and how they follow up what comes into the foodchain. We can also wonder why they allowed for such a long time the mixing of certain product to be sold under an other name, as above mentioned ‘chicken’ meat having more pork in it than chicken, but labeled ‘chicken’. Everything in the food chain should be labeled for what it is with the name that it really is. (Not calling soy beef, e.g..) If the label says beef, the customers expect it to be beef. And it is up to state organisations to control if customers are not fooled. They have to check the ingredients, the quality, purity, hygiene and safety of the product. all taxpayers pay for that service, which should be taken seriously because there is too much at stake.

But in a certain way the customer does not go free totally. He should control also himself what he buys. He can check the labelling and compare the prize ans quality of the product.

If as a customer you have any suspicious about food being offered for sale, for example, if the meat being sold is unusually cheap and you have concerns about where meat has come from, please tell both the local authority and the Agency. They can then investigate whether the food or meat has been produced to the normal high standards of hygiene.

Each customer bears the responsibility for the other consumers. There are enough people who cannot read the labels (because printed too small, not clearly written, not in their language, not enough reading ability, not knowing the many codes which are presented on the labels to represent the many additives)

The horsemeat fraud may have brought people to prance and get them up on their hind legs, we can only hope that now at last the governments will take the foodchain more serious and build in a better protection for the customer.

File:Przewalski-Pferd Fellpflege 2007-06-08 168.jpg

Przewalski Horse preening – Phot BS Thurner Hof

Hopefully the European Union shall make work of it that on each product for sale has to be written the content, all the ingredients telling the consumer if it is made of animal or plant fat, hardened or not, with additional by-product and what sorts of additives (preservatives, colourants, etc.).

As a scandal over the discovery of horse meat in products labeled as beef widens, European ministers were meeting for talks in Belgium on Wednesday on how to restore badly dented consumer confidence.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said he was following the situation “very closely.”

The European Commission is working with the French, Romanian, Dutch, Luxembourg and British authorities and has called an emergency meeting on the issue of food chains for Friday, Borg said in a statement.

“I hope that the national investigations will uncover soon the culprits.The talks in Brussels, Belgium, come a day after UK police and health officials raided a slaughterhouse and meat company as part of the ongoing investigation into how horse meat ended up in purported beef products.


Please do find more information:

Supermarkets Picard and Cora have taken ready meals off the shelves. It’s a precaution triggered by the fact that one of their suppliers used meat from a company that has been named in the fraud involving the use of cheaper horse meat instead of beef. > Ready meals off Belgian shelves

Q&A: Horsemeat scandal

Horsemeat itself should be no more dangerous than beef and is eaten in many countries around the world.

But the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has ordered tests to make sure a drug given to horses which can be dangerous to humans – known as bute (phenylbutazone) – has not entered the food chain.




About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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1 Response to Horsemeat bringing people to cavort

  1. marcusampe says:

    100% beef turned out to be 100% bull.What should be done to prevent another horsemeat scandal? Members of the European Parliament call for tougher controls and stricter labelling.


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