Horse meat in burgers – just how bad is it? According to the Press Association, traces of horse meat have been recently found in burgers sold in the UK and Ireland.
Tests conducted on products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores revealed traces of horse and pig DNA. The highest concentration of horse meat was detected in burgers sold in Tesco, 29 percent of the meat density.
Specialists, including professor Alan Reilly, the chief executive of the FSAI, said that even though neither the horse nor the pig DNA’s presence in the burger meat hold any health threat, it has no reasonable explanation. The pig DNA presence can be explained by the fact that different animal types of meat are processed in the same meat plants. However, the horse DNA mixed in the burger meat is inexplicable since the meat plants in question do not process horse meat at all.
The retailers informed the food safety chiefs that they plan to remove all the products implicated in the tests from their shelves presently. Even though the presence of pig and horse meat in the products in question do not constitute a direct health threat, their mere presence can come in conflict with certain religious believes and eating regimens.
Horse meat has nutritional values close to those seen in beef and sirloin, namely 133 calories, 21g proteins, 5g of fat, 3.8mg of iron, 53mg of sodium and 52mg of cholesterol per 100g, 3.5 oz, of raw horse meat.
There are as many countries worldwide where the consumption of horse meat happens on a daily basis as there are those where the animals are considered pets and their meat is never used in foods. The distinction, however, is mostly culture based, as the meat is fit for human consumption and presents no extra health risks than consuming meat generally does.
Horse meat can be used as a substitute for beef, pork, mutton and venison, with a shorter cooking time than beef or pork. The meat is usually very lean and becomes more tender as the animal advances in age. Sandwiches or cold meals prepared with horse meat use it smoked or salted.
Killing horses for human consumption is widely opposed in countries like USA, The Great Britain, Ireland and the English Canada and forbidden by Jewish dietary laws. The top 5 horse meat consuming countries are China, Mexico, Russia, Italy and Kazakhstan.