scandal

Horse meat scandal in Europe

The 2013 meat adulteration scandal is ongoing in Europe; foods advertised as containing beef were found to contain undeclared or improperly declared horse meat, as much as 100% of the meat content in some cases, and other undeclared meats, such as pork. The issue came to light on 15 January 2013, when it was reported that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beefburgers sold in several Irish and British supermarkets. Horse meat is not harmful to health and is eaten in many countries, but is considered a taboo food in many countries, including the UK and Ireland. The analysis stated that 23 out of 27 samples of beef burgers also contained pig DNA; pork is a taboo food to the Muslim and Jewish communities.

While not a direct food safety issue, the scandal revealed a major breakdown in the traceability of the food supply chain, and therefore some risk that harmful ingredients were included as well. Sports horses for instance could have entered the food supply chain, and with them the veterinary drug phenylbutazone which is banned in food animals. The scandal has since spread to 13 other European countries and European authorities have decided to find an EU-wide solution. They initiated meat testing of about 4,000 horse meat samples for the veterinary drug. The EU Recommendation on Labelling the Origin of Processed Meat will be published as soon as possible.

There were further seizures in December 2013.