Written by Matthew Harper. Media by Bobby Williams.
With products being pulled from shelves in Great Britain, Norway, Austria, and Germany, the growing horse meat scandal in Europe shows no signs of slowing down. It’s been a full month since the story first started breaking of horse meat being discovered in supposedly beef burgers from Ireland. Since then, traces of horse DNA have been found in various meats all over Europe, and police have even begun raiding certain manufacturers and suppliers in several different countries trying to get to the bottom of the surreal situation.
In what Reuters describes as a Europe-wide “blame game,” various government agencies and meat supply companies have begun trading barbs over where the fault truly lies. One company, Findus, has been hit rather hard by accusations, including the alleged discovery that their lasagna product contains 100 percent horse meat, not beef (BBC News). Findus claims the meat was imported from elsewhere and that none of their other meat-based products contained any of the contaminated meat. An official statement from Findus claimed that they “do not believe this to be a food safety issue. [They] are confident that [they] have fully resolved this supply chain issue.”
So with Findus pointing fingers at their suppliers and government health services across Europe blaming anyone and everyone they can, it seems that the scandal is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. According to Reuters, one major brand name in France, Spanghero, is hitting back at the French government for what they call “hasty conclusions.” The French government pointed fingers towards the company when horse meat was found in their products, even going as far as to say that the distributor was “knowingly passing off horse meat as beef.” The company wasn’t the slightest bit pleased with this accusation, though. Christophe Giry, marketing director for Spanghero, said that the “verdict arrived at by the ministers has condemned 300 families to death.” Giry is referencing the company’s employees, whose livelihoods are endangered by such strong accusations.
All of the health services and government agencies looking into the scandal, as well as the companies being blamed, are on record that the horse meat poses no health threat to any consumer who unknowingly consumes it. The issue, obviously, is that horse meat isn’t very popular worldwide, as most people are uncomfortable with the idea of consuming the animals. The difference between eating a horse and say, a cow or pig, isn’t exactly clear or logical, but the fact remains that the issue is wildly controversial and everyone involved is trying to clear it up as quickly as possible. Companies that purposefully distribute horse meat, such as one slaughtering facility in Romania, say that they aren’t to blame for this new scandal, as all their products are clearly labeled.