Horse meat Scandal is the adulteration of non vegetarian food which is advertised as containing beef with horse meat. The ongoing food adulteration also includes undeclared uses of other meats like pork. The issue was first exposed on 15 January 2013, when it was found in the reports that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beefburgers sold in several Irish and British supermarkets. Samples were sent to the FSA recognized labs via courier companies
and other methods for testing. Gradually reports of discovery of traces of undeclared horse meat also started coming from France, Sweden, Spain and Netherlands.
Horse meat is not harmful as such, and in many countries like China, Russia, neighbouring France, Italy and Kazakhstan it is consumed commonly, however in many countries like Britain and Ireland eating horse meat is considered a taboo. In the customs of Islam and Judaism; eating horse meat is considered sinful. At this, selling horse meat or pork declared as beef is a big issue like playing with the sentiments of the public. It is just like British East India Company purposely greasing cartridges of rifles with cow and pork fat to humiliate their own Hindu and Muslim soldiers, who consider eating beef and pork sinful.
Increase in population, rise in prices and tight demand and supply is causing the meat factories think of other alternatives to make bigger profits, however without thinking of the consequences. Big brands like TESCO, Aldi and Findus (Sweden) had to withdraw their products from the shelf which had meat from these factories, causing wastage of food.
Is Eating Horse Meat Harmful?
Horse meat eating is common in countries like France, China, Italy, Russia and Kazakhstan and is considered healthy and doesn’t pose any risk. Britain’s FSA says that eating horse meat is not unhealthy, given it has no veterinary drug phenylbutazone or bute. Bute is used as an analgesic for horses which is another name for painkillers. Bute was banned from use in humans after it was found that its users suffered side effects that caused serious blood disorder, although its possibility of ill affecting a human being was only 1 in 30,000.
However, FSA said that the levels of bute found in previous testing of contaminated food was so low that it has to be multiplied by thousand to bring to the same recommended value for humans as it was allowed earlier. Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s senior most doctor, said the level of contamination, 1.9mg/kg, posed “very little risk to human health”. She further added that around 500-600 burgers containing 100% horse meat would need to be eaten to receive the daily human therapeutic dose.
Harmful effects of bute when taken in low quantity for a long time has not been studied yet, but anything that is harmful is ultimately harmful whether in small quantities or big.
How Did Horse Meat Manage to Enter Food Chain Replacing Beef?
AFP reported that Comigel (Private French Food Processing Company) had blamed French meat-processing company Spanghero, which further put blame on Doly Com, a Romanian-based slaughterhouse from where the meat was bought via traders in Cyprus and the Netherlands. However, an inquiry undertaken by the French government has cleared that “the meat had left Romania clearly and correctly labelled as horse. It was afterwards that it was relabelled as beef.”
Romanian prime minister, Victor Ponta and minister of Agriculture Daniel Constantin came forward to put Romania’s point in front. prime minister said, “the two Romanian slaughterhouses initially suspected to have links to the horse meat scandal never had direct contact with Comigel and had not done anything illegal.” Minister of Agriculture said, “there was no evidence of false horse meat labeling occurred in Romania.”
So How Does the Whole Supply Chain From Romania to France Work?
Doly Com (Romania) supplies the horse meat under a contract to Cyprus-based meat trader Draap Trading Ltd, which operates in the Netherlands. Draap delivers the horse meat to a cold storage company in Breda (Netherlands), and then sells the frozen meat to meat processing company Spanghero (France) , who has declared that meat arrived at their Castelnaudary plant labelled as “Beef – originating in EU”. After further processing, Spanghero sends it to Comigel, where the end products for sale were made. At the moment, according to French media reports, Spanghero falsified documents regarding the meat.
It is still not clear that who is the real culprit of this scandal, a detailed investigation is required to reach the roots of this case. Then only the whole idea will come into the picture, whether it was done to make profits, or if it was an error.
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