Horsemeat Scandal Rocks European Union
Throughout the last several months we’ve heard about the horsemeat scandal that has rocked numerous European countries. Last week, Dr. Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health at University College in Dublin, Ireland spoke at the International Alltech Symposium in Kentucky.
He share some insight into this food scandal of horsemeat in beef patties and other products labeled as 100-percent beef.
Wall: “Horse meat is much cheaper than beef so this is a case of food fraud where people were substituting horse meat for beef.”
Dr. Wall says unscrupulous dealers started to switch horsemeat for beef -- and it’s not routine in the meat sector to DNA test raw ingredients to make it’s 100-percent beef. If people purchase ground beef -- he says they assume they’re buying ground beef -- and if there’s horse mixed in -- they wouldn’t pick it up.
One of the food safety agencies started DNA testing because the ground beef were so cheap - according to Wall - about the same price as a can of cat food. That testing confirmed the patties contained horsemeat - and Wall says consumers in countries with horses as companion animals were very upset.
Wall: “It was criminal elements in the supply chain. There are 27 countries in the European Union. It appears that this practice of substituting horse for beef was happening simultaneously by independent criminals in several countries. This showed a big lesson that a companies reputation or brand is only as secure as their weakest supplier.”
Wall says the European Union thought it had a robust, secure food supply chain but this scandal has destroyed the reputations of many companies.