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The Horsemeat Scandal: SIMPLIFIED

By Coupleofidiots @coupleofidiots
The horsemeat scandal: SIMPLIFIEDimagesource
There has been a lot if controversy surrounding the recent discovery of horse meat in beef products in places such as Tesco and Nestlé products.
The reason I'm posting this is because I have seen on twitter and Facebook a bit of confusion and I have noticed that people don't really understand what the issue is especially from tweets and statuses such as 'as long as it tastes good, I don't care'.
I'm going to just highlight the main points of the scandal and simplify them, so you know eeeeverything you need to know about the horse meat scandal!
Número uno:
The horse meat scandal began in Ireland when the Food safety authority tested a range of cheap frozen beef burgers and ready meals last November. It found numerous different animal DNA, some of which is yet to be declared, but the most shocking for many was that in a third of the samples, there was horse DNA. One sample from Tesco came out that 29% of the burger contained horse DNA instead of beef.
BUT: What people do not realize is that an economy beef burger can legally contain as little as 47% beef.
Número dos:
As I wrote above, a beef burger can contain 47% beef only if the manufacturer wishes it to do so. Many of the other ingredients include water and fat. Some previous scandals have involved this minimal meat containment, such as the chicken nugget scandal quite a few years ago! The tested burgers have been found to have 'horse hide' in them. It is not illegal to use chicken, beef and pork protein concentrates in meat products so long as they are identified correctly to the manufacturer. I am not entirely sure about what the laws are surrounding horse hide but considering there is a massive scandal.. It can't be good news...
Número tres:
When Ireland reported their findings, the UK Food Standards Agency asked the industry to test all its beef product for horse. So, the tests began to occur all across Europe, mainly in France, Italy and Spain. This batch of tests revealed that the cheap frozen meals such as the lasagne and spaghetti bolognese made for Tesco, Aldi and Findus by a French manufacturer called Comigel was up to 100% horse. Comigel made cheap beef meals for supermarkets and branded companies in 16 different countries causing quite a significant amount of panic in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK.
Número cuatro:
This has happened because buyers and big brands have been trying to cut prices in order to sell and encourage spending during the recession. It could be said that this happened because beef prices have been at record highs more recently and some companies are simply not prepared to pay for the more expensive and quality beef, which is not great for consumers.
Número cinco:
The real issue is not just that it is horse meat, but that horses are routinely treated with an anti-imflammatory drug called 'phenylbutazone' or 'bute', which is BANNED from the human food chain because it can cause a potentially life threatening illness, aplastic anaemia (bone marrow failure). It is said that the doese are likely to be very low but horse passports are supposed to record any bute administered so that they can be excluded from going for consumption, but lots have fake passports and this led to some horses containing bute being eaten. (for some reason I find it hilarious that horses have passports! haha!) The government have changed the rules so all horse carcasses may now only be released for consumption once they have been tested for bute, which I suppose is better...(or not, not sure how many people would enjoy eating horse).
Well, for me personally, it doesn't really mean anything because I'm a vegetarian so I don't eat cheap meats or cheap beef meals. I have seen quite a few articles that say things like 'THE ONLY WAY IS TO GO VEGETARIAN'.. no. I am a vegetarian, and if you are not careful and go into it very suddenly, you can become very ill as I have recently. I do have a few tips to avoid munching on horse meat though;
1) buy more expensive meats, yes its annoying that they cost you more but you'll be getting a better quality meat and avoiding extra pieces of animals being put in your food.
2) read the packaging closely. Yes, it takes time and is annoying also, but at least you know what you're doing and what you're actually eating!
3) DO NOT PANIC. The media have a horrible horrible habit of over dramatising quite a lot of things, this being one of them, do not panic. Not all of the food you have eaten has horse meat in it, you haven't been strongly deceived but yes, it is a little bit of a scandal and you should be more careful.
Thats it for now though,
Muchos love
(yes i did have to re-write this because it got deleted randomly :( so sorry about that!)

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