Put That Burger Down! Horse Meat Found In 20 Percent of Ground Beef Sold In The US
Most of us remember hearing about the horse meat scandal that hit Europe in 2013. We were horrified. But at least it didn't affect us. Or so we thought. Unfortunately, it turns out that this was part of a more global pandemic, as researchers have now discovered traces of horse meat in common food products found in the USA
According to two new surveys, around 20% of ground meat sold in the US contains meat products that are not on the label. The researchers, from Chapman University's Food Science Program in California, published the two studies on meat mislabelling in commerical products, with one focusing on the identification of animals found in ground meat products, and one focused on game meat species labelling.
It was found that in ground meat, 10 out of 48 samples were mislabelled, with 9 of those having additional animal included. Horse meat, which is illegal to sell, was detected in two of these samples.
There are a number of possibilities as to how this could happen, from cross-contamination, to the more malicious reason of using lower-cost meat to replace higher-cost meat to increase profits!
Despite the illegal horse meat outbreak in Europe in 2013, very little research was carried out around this topic in the US food market. The most recent US meat survey is believed to have been published in 1995, said co-author of the study, Dr Rosalee Hellberg.
It was found that the products most likely to be mislabelled were purchased from online specialty meat distributors compared with supermarkets. Online shops showed a 35% rate of mislabelling including products labelled as black bear and yak burgers.
Everything you need to know about horse meat
- Horse meat is considered safe to eat, and is high in protein.
- However, it is illegal to sell in America, and is generally not eaten for cultural and ethical reasons.
- In some countries it is considered a delicacy, including Japan where it is called Sakura.
- Mexico produces the biggest amount of horse meat a year, producing 78,000 tons in 2009.
- In 2013, horse meat was found mixed in to beef dishes sold in UK supermarkets, including frozen supermarket meals.
- It was also found served in restaurants, schools and hospitals. Furniture giant IKEA was found to have horse meat in their famous meatballs.
- US food safety law requires meat inspectors to be present for a slaughterhouse to operate. They can shut down the plant if they think something illegal is going on.
- Only certain countries and companies are allowed to export their meat to the US. Products are inspected at the border and can be tested if they suspect anything illegal.
Being the horse lovers we are, we can't bear the thought of unknowingly eating our beloved friends, and we're sure you can't either. if you want to raise awareness of this awful side to the meat industry, give this article a share.