It turns out that at some point in my life I may just have consumed horse meat. The news has been everywhere for a couple of days and the backlash continues. As the story broke I found myself wondering two things:
-Why don’t we eat horse meat anyway?
-What other foods do we consume that contain even more sinister ingredients.
I have always known the horse and the donkey to be no-nos for consumption and assumed that this was because they are domestic animals used for labour and thus have more value alive than on a plate ( one doesn’t consume their capital inputs). Even in African society where one doesn’t really do the pet thing, consuming something you’ve named and lived with would be a tad bit off ( insert dog here).
According to Wiki, horse meat is ” slightly sweet, tender, low in fat and high in protein”. Mmmm…could that have been the secret ingredient to the recipe? Interestingly, it states that about 4,7 million horses are slaughtered for consumption every year. How many of those made it into our burgers is yet to be determined. Seen as a cheaper substitute for pork and beef it is no surprise that our “100%” beef patties had an equestrian flavour. One of the brands was found to contain 29% horse DNA , which probably allowed for massive cost savings. The big deal for me isn’t that I ate horse meat but that being an animal that’s not reared for human consumption, ( in the UK at least) there is no guarantee that the meat met the necessary breeding and production guidelines. And what’s telling is that it is being referred to as “horse DNA” and not horse meat. With cost reduction the likely objective it will be the off cuts of the animal that were used and not its ” fillet mignon”.
The question now is what else has been laced with the mighty horse power? Where else has the food industry substituted real ingredients with undesirable products? The reality is that we are moving further and further away from our food sources; one wonders whether we should even be screaming blue murder over this.
The goal in families, businesses and the government is to reduce expenditure, it is therefore prudent to assume that some businesses are up to no good. As customers we need to start questioning whether the price on the packet is a correct representation of the product within knowing that the goal of any business is to make a profit. If a burger patty is a 100% beef is it reasonable to expect it to be that cheap? It will not be surprising if more stomach-churning revelations make breaking news. The journalists are certainly all over this.
And one more thing, this revelation came out of Ireland. So, what exactly is the UK Food Standards Agency doing at their labs?