What's in that hamburger?

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Tom

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A week or so ago I was hearing rumblings about horse meat being discovered in frozen hamburger patties sold by two of the largest food chains in the UK. The scandal has since widened to other foods, including lasagne and meatballs, and to several other countries. The plot thickens, as it's revealed that the source is likely to be Romania's slaughterhouses feeding a complex food supply chain throughout Europe.

According to some experts, horse meat is edible by humans, but a major concern is that some horses are injected with  phenylbutazone, a medication nicknamed bute, which can be dangerous to humans.

One current theory for the appearance of so much horse meat being sold as beef is that "new restrictions on using horses on roads in Romania, has have led to a surge in the number of horses being slaughtered".

Further reading:

Conspiracy theory.

Law suits starting.
 
This will no doubt get a lot of play here because the USA, UK, Ireland and Argentina have a strong cultural bias against eating horse meat, but most other countries consider it no different than beef, pork or mutton. It is popular in France, which has meat markets that specialize in horse meat.  But in no country (that I am aware of) is it permissible to mislabel the meat. If it says beef, it must be beef and not contain pork or chicken. Anything else is fraud.

The real concern is that the horse meat may not be food grade, i.e. may contain remnants of chemicals that would not be allowed in animals raised solely to be used as food. Meat processors in the USA are supposed to check for that sort of thing in the animals they slaughter, but that probably doesn't always happen. And in Romania, who knows?
 
Ask your local hamburger supplier if they have DNA checked their meat before selling it.  Wonder what they will say.

 
I heard the same thing that Tom mentioned.  But I though it was suppliers to a major fast food chain.  I also heard that they are now testing for horse meat in their burger suppliers.  It was said that they found one supplier was an unauthorized supplier and DNA testing of the supplied meat included horse meat.

Same story?
 
This clearly is wide-reaching throughout Europe, and we probably haven't heard the full story. My first hint came from listening to a BBC podcast, one of the things I do before falling asleep in bed. Many of the podcasts are extracts from talk shows where they routinely interview UK politicians and business leaders. The interviewers are brutal, and the FSA (Food Supply Agency) guy being interviewed last week was being given no mercy.

That's when it was thought to be a UK issue, but the whole thing started unravelling over the last few days.

There seems to be little government oversight; The FSA puts the responsibility for checking foods on the retail chains, and they merely transfer the responsibility to their suppliers. As you proceed backwards through the convoluted supply chain, it seems that anyone and everyone is able to dupe and be duped.
 
I believe one of the large food restaurants that starts with Mc was guilty of putting kangaroo in  the burgers. It was some years back, but I remember all the the jokes at the time. I guess they will sneak anything in there. Says a lot for knowing your farmer and where your food actually comes from. I believe the Italians eat mortedella which is made from horse meat.
 
Tom said:
A week or so ago I was hearing rumblings about horse meat being discovered in frozen hamburger patties sold by two of the largest food chains in the UK. The scandal has since widened to other foods, including lasagne and meatballs, and to several other countries. The plot thickens, as it's revealed that the source is likely to be Romania's slaughterhouses feeding a complex food supply chain throughout Europe....

Based on the  microwaved (!) pub hamburgers that I sampled in London on our last visit, Roumanian horse meat would be an improvement.  Hell, salvaged Texas armadillo road-kill meat would have been an improvement.
 
>>This will no doubt get a lot of play here because the USA, UK, Ireland and Argentina have a strong cultural bias against eating horse meat<<

This is also true in Canada  Gary, although it is legally sold (and controlled) in Quebec and in Ottawa, Ontario due to the large numbers of French nationals there.  In Ottawa there are only one or two specialty shops who handle it.

I've had it when out to dinner at the home of French friends (from France, not Quebec) and found it quite acceptable.  I would not seek it out however...mostly from a point of "we just don't do it here" .  Beef will do just fine as my red meat of choice, thank you!

 
Gord Nelson said:
I got thinking after making that last post....

Maybe that is why there are so many "horses @ss's in Ottawa...the seat of our Federal Government!  :p

That could be very offensive to any horses reading this forum. ;)

We have a local butcher here who grades his meat by how many races the "donor" had won.  Some might think that a dead givaway :-\
 
I recall the first time someone took me out to dinner in Scandinavia and suggested I try reindeer. All through the meal I kept wondering who was going to pull Santa's sleigh the following Christmas  ???
 
Tom said:
I recall the first time someone took me out to dinner in Scandinavia and suggested I try reindeer. All through the meal I kept wondering who was going to pull Santa's sleigh the following Christmas  ???
I always wondered what ever happened to Rudolph. :'(
 
At least I didn't fall for the trick that our Taiwanese office played on one of my colleagues; Half way through dinner they told him he was eating dog  :eek:
 
Tom, that might not have been a joke!

When in the far east, you do not ask what the meat is. I've had dog, and also cat that I know of, and have had suspicions of ROOF RABBIT. [RAT] Also Monkey is very popular in Thailand. I know that one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants in Fuoka Japan was closed down to all military personal due to cat heads being found in the garbage.

Ask any WWII vet from Canada if they recall an incident where one of the Canadian Military Bases was buying rabbits locally, and ended up having to make a rule that the feet remained attached to insure that they were not getting cats.



Lee
 
I've not heard rat called "roof rabbit" but I have had it over rice and not sure but I think I  ate part of our company mascot, of course it was over rice also.      S. Korea 1968
 
Aye Lee, eating dog is apparently quite common in Taiwan. They knew he wouldn't eat it if he knew in advance what it was, so they just didn't tell him until he was well into his meal.

Back in the day, they used to serve monkey brains at restaurants in Hong Kong. The tables had holes large enough for the monkey's head to be shoved through from below. I never could bring myself to try it.

Drunken shrimp was about as far as I could go; They'd bring a large glass (like a HUGE brandy glass) of live shrimp, and add liquor. The shrimp would gradually get inebriated, and eventually fall over 'drunk'. Then they'd cook the shrimp in front of you.
 

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