ONTD Political

Where's The Beef? Burger King Finds Horsemeat In Its U.K. Patties

11:19 am - 02/02/2013
Where's The Beef? Burger King Finds Horsemeat In Its U.K. Patties

Burger King has acknowledged this week that some of its burgers in Britain and Ireland included horsemeat, the latest development in an ongoing scandal.

Horsemeat actually contains just as much protein and far less fat than beef, according to nutritionists.

Burger King says it found trace levels of horse DNA in four samples from its Irish meat supplier, Silvercrest, but "this product was never sold to our restaurants," the company said in a statement. Nevertheless, Burger King's admission has prompted a Twitter campaign and threats of a boycott.

The horsemeat controversy is Britain's worst food scandal since mad cow disease in the 1990s. But this time around, the potential danger isn't to Britons' physical health, but their emotional well-being.

For as long as a year, British consumers who thought they were buying beef products may have been unknowingly eating pork and horse, as well.

Irish food safety officials broke the news in mid-January, when they said 23 out of 27 beef burgers sampled were found to contain pig DNA, and 10 also contained horse DNA. The meat had been marketed across the British Isles.

One beef patty, sold by the British grocery giant, Tesco, was 29 percent horsemeat.

Outside a Tesco supermarket in West London, Alicia Rodrigues, a Muslim, loads a cart with bags of groceries. She's seen the reports, and says, "It's horrible. I feel like, wow, it's horrible, horrible, horrible."

Jewish and Muslim leaders in Britain have said there's no evidence that any of the pork-contaminated beef was mislabeled as halal or kosher.

But the greatest expressions of revulsion, here in the U.K., haven't been religious. And they haven't been about pork, but horse.

Another Tesco customer, who only gave his first name, Johnny, says he's stopped buying beef burgers altogether.

"I'm not eating them any more! Poor old horses, I feel sorry for them, that's all. France and all them countries eat the horsemeat — we don't," he said.

Horsemeat is commonly eaten in France and other parts of Europe and the world. But in the U.S. and United Kingdom, horses are more often seen as companions. Indeed, to the average animal-loving, horse-mad Brit, the concept of eating Mr. Ed is abhorrent and positively un-English.

Henry Harris, the chef at Racine, a French restaurant in London, said: "There's misconception that we shouldn't be eating horse, because — the whole pet connotations and companionship that horses give people. And it puts them off. Whereas you go over to the Continent, they don't have quite the same connection. And they appreciate it more for its culinary, rather than its companion, qualities."

Most of the adulterated beef has been traced to a single Irish supplier called Silvercrest. Silvercrest seems to have acquired the suspect meat from an unapproved Polish firm.

Food critic Rose Prince says the Polish operation probably used horse for two reasons: its cheaper price and its deep red color.

"Adding it to the meat, you would certainly make it look leaner," she said. "You'd look like you're getting more, and less sort of fatty mince."


OP: Like you need another reason not to eat that crap. I'd be tempted to snicker but I like the chicken nuggets. God only knows what's in them. Probably the horse hooves.

Okay. I'll concede that eating horsemeat isn't a bad thing but I think any horsemeat found in a BK can't be considered "good" eats.
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stainedfeathers 2nd-Feb-2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. I've never understood why we don't eat horses. Then again I also don't quite understand why we don't eat dogs either. A cow or pig has just as much right to live* as a dog, cat or horse, but for some reason we view the latter as somehow more sacred and not-to-eat. I never really understood it. I can understand not wanting to say, eat a pet, but a cow, pig or chicken can be a pet just as easily as a horse or dog, and if you're arguing from an intelligence standpoint pigs are smarter than dogs or horses and are still meat animals. *shrugs*

*Disclaimer: I'm not vegetarian/vegan, I'm an omnivore who hates the factory farm situation and mistreatment of animals. I'm perfectly ok with eating other animals as the "circle of life", but animals/others should be respected in their lives and in their deaths.
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myste_uk 2nd-Feb-2013 08:15 pm (UTC)
For me, the real concern about this issue (and afaik the issue as presented in our media - at least the reports I've seen/read) is nothing to do with it being horse, per se, but the fact that the actual ingredients of something don't match the published ingredients. The reason the issue of horse has been a bigger one than pork is because it was found before the pork was, so it kickstarted the story (at least that's my understanding). Sure there are some people who are squicked out by it being horse, but most people I know are more bothered about it being essentially mislabeled to this extent. The BSE scares still have a knock on effect in our consciousness in that we want to be sure that what we are eating is (a) what it is claimed to be and (b) from where it is claimed to be from.

My own view - do I care it's horse? No, that's essentially no different to eating cattle. Do I care that the people selling it didn't actually know where the meat had been sourced from and what meat it was? Absolutely, and it's made me very wary of buying any meat products from anywhere other than my local butcher.

Also, I think I read an article today that pork had been found in some halal food in a prison, I think - so the bit of the article above that says about no halal products being mislabeled may be false. ETA: In fact, here's the article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21302925

Edited at 2013-02-02 08:40 pm (UTC)
ljtaylor 2nd-Feb-2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
all of this
furrygreen 2nd-Feb-2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'd be more worried because horse meat, like the article said, isn't food most UK/US households eat. We do import meat from other places but those are usually rather expensive. Or, rather, too expensive for BK. Since I've never heard of a great market for horse meat, I have to wonder where they find the meat, ya know?
keestone 2nd-Feb-2013 09:05 pm (UTC)
The problem with the horse meat isn't the fact that it's horse, but that it's not supposed to be there and there's a good chance it contains stuff not allowed for human consumption. Horses slaughtered in the UK tested positive for phenylbutazone, which is a known carcinogen and banned from the human food chain.

Really, though, the biggest problem is the fact that Larry Goodman is the owner of Silvercrest and this suggests continued corruption going back to the 1980s and the Beef Tribunal in the '90s.

mephisto5 3rd-Feb-2013 09:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! There's a reason people are getting up in arms about this and it's not because 'cute horsies'.
romp 2nd-Feb-2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
So the Irish plant got its meat from Poland. That's a lot of traveling around! More like the US beef model than I expect.

When I was in England 100 years ago, most meat was "lamb" (i.e. sheep) which I assumed was because they're smaller and the UK doesn't have a lot of space for cattle ranches. First time I saw a skinned one in a butcher shop window, I thought it was a dog...

So, yes, people deserve to know what they're buying. Yes, it's weird how much culture informs what we think is okay to eat. And I wouldn't compare this to the mad cow situation.
rex_dart 2nd-Feb-2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
When I was in England 100 years ago

kishmet 2nd-Feb-2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
idk I think if we respect people's choices not to eat certain meats for religious reasons then we should respect the fact that people might hold certain animals sacred for non-religious reasons. There's a privileging here in the comments of religious views over others and that bothers me

If you think about it they stem from similar historical reasons. Not eating pork was practical when that meat carried disease and many people didn't eat horses or dogs because they were useful. It's just that one became connected with a spiritual tradition and the other with a purely cultural.
squeeful 2nd-Feb-2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
The European taboo on eating horse comes from the papal decree that horse was forbidden *because* it was associated with non-Christian pagan ritual sacrifice and consumption. Didn't really hold though. Horse was and is traditionally eaten after the animal has exceeded its useful life. It's much more efficient. That said, non-horse eating is an Anglophone taboo. It's the exception, not the norm.
magli 2nd-Feb-2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
I don't mind people eating horses or any other animals (except for CATS, you HEARTLESS MONSTERS), but I think the point here is that is false marketing. If someone pays for beef, don't sell them horse.
scolaro 2nd-Feb-2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
(But...but...it's just SO YUMMY!!) ^^

pleasure_past 2nd-Feb-2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
Half of Ireland's been freaking out about this for weeks. I've just been like "*shrug* *eats cheeseburger*."

Edit: I do think that people have a right to know what's in their food. It's just that I personally am not bothered by this.

Edited at 2013-02-03 12:00 am (UTC)
rex_dart 3rd-Feb-2013 02:34 am (UTC)
I'm coming to Ireland in a couple weeks. Shall I assume that this is not, in fact, a good thing for an American to loudly crack jokes about in bars?
blackjedii 3rd-Feb-2013 12:57 am (UTC)
You know what's good eatin?


All the taste of beef without the fat and the bastards deserve it because ostriches are evil
romp 3rd-Feb-2013 01:08 am (UTC)
My wife has worked with ostrich. She said it was blood-rich so maybe if you like dark meat...
grace_om 3rd-Feb-2013 02:00 am (UTC)
The problem is that horses aren't raised for human consumption. They're recreational animals and pets routinely given wormers and other drugs which leave unsafe residues. I don't know about the UK, but in the U.S. the horse slaughter transport/trade (from U.S. to slaughter houses in Canada or Mexico) is a horrorshow even compared to a typical factory farm.
oceandezignz 3rd-Feb-2013 03:51 am (UTC)
My French teacher in high school went on and on about how in France when she lived there (70s-80s), the steak of steak-frite was horse/pony! At the time, that wasn't an endearing idea to us, the possible francophiles in training.

Then just imagine all of the angry eight year olds who just LOVE horses because they are their favorite animal ever, etc etc etc...

And then... there's this:
angelofdeath275 3rd-Feb-2013 04:45 am (UTC)
Why did it take so fucking long for people to realize the big controversy is that you want to know what the fuck you are eating and you don't expect a fucking horse

No instead _p pulls some pseudo liberal BS rhetorical questions about whhyyy do we eat this and not this?!?! well IIII don't have a problem at all!!
rex_dart 3rd-Feb-2013 06:18 am (UTC)
I don't have a horse in this race (I'm hilarious btw) because I don't eat meat at all, but tbh I feel like what some people are maybe kind of getting at is that if everyone had JUST found out that the burgers contained pork this probably would have been considered a relatively minor issue. But horse sounds pretty sensational and makes for a great headline and I have no idea if it's legitimately worse or not because I don't know anything about horse meat/standards/etc.
hinoema 3rd-Feb-2013 07:38 am (UTC)
As many have pointed out, I don't go near BK because the meat is toxic, not because of what it is.

Having said that, goat! More goat! It can live in climates cows can't and on far less food.
yeats 3rd-Feb-2013 09:11 am (UTC)
goat is the greatest.
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