Horse meat Consumption in Europe

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Over the recent years, horse meat has been a major problem in the United Kingdom.  One major source originates from Northern America in places like Canada as well as Southern America in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The European horsemeat problem began when meat testing within Ireland proved that some beef products contained the equine DNA. This menace has spread across the European continent and in the process, entangling many distinguished brands, which result to timely product abandonment and therefore poor customer concerns by the relevant authorities as well as poor government investigations into the continent’s complex food dispensation chains.


Due to the ongoing European horsemeat contamination scandal, a good number of the beef supplies company executives are considering looking at their risks and uncertainties and on a regular basis. The horsemeat contamination in the beef lasagne is one example of the unexpected interference that occurs when the company executives ought to prepare themselves to handle. Economic pressures contribute to a larger percentage of the risks, which contribute to contaminations in the supply chains (Doeg, 2005 166). According to Humane Society International (2012), every year about one hundred thousand tonnes of horsemeat become imported to the European Union states and the origin of this meat is from the above countries. In addition to the large amounts of meat supplied to the European Union nations, about tens of thousands of this meat is slaughtered for human consumptions within the European Union itself. The Humane Society International (2012) has carried out studies over the issue of horsemeat in the European meat consumption market especially in three member states, which include France, Netherlands and Belgium where meat consumption is a normal phenomenon.

Sampling studies carried on beef lasagne in France, Belgium and Netherlands.

Beef Lasagne is an Italian flat dish, which is made by incorporating several ingredients and sauces into several layers and then baking the dish in an oven. This dish is an olden Italian meal, which is very delicious. The ingredients are made from pork and beef mixed with fresh pasta, creamy béchamel and Italian mozzarella. According to a sampling food survey conducted by the European Food Standards Agency over the wide spread of horsemeat in beef products, one of the products found to contain traces of more than one percent pig meat include Apetito Beef Lasagne (FSA, 2013). The Apetito Company in their defence state that they produce majority of beef lasagne just like any other company however, their beef products in most cases, are imported in large chunks or as whole muscles from their approved suppliers. They inspect their meat but do not carry out comprehensive analysis of the Bute found in the imported meat so as to detect traces of harmful substances (FSA, 2013). The sampling done of the beef lasagne was carried out in two phases and the results obtained proved that out of the 224 Apetito Beef Lasagne sampled in phase one, 214 contained more than one percent pig DNA or contain both pig and horse DNA (FSA, 2013). As for the second phase, the Apetito Beef Lasagne tested contained a threshold of more than one percent pig DNA but did not contain any horse DNA above the one percent threshold.

Also, a report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2013) proved that there were undeclared traces of horse as well as pork DNA were found in meat products especially lasagne, beef burgers and Bolognaise, which are already readymade meat products that have been contaminated by horse meat as well as pork DNA. The European government and the related meat industries are conducting a large scale and nationwide meat testing to determine the problem. Each and every year, beef lasagne, which contains traces of horsemeat, is being delivered to France, Netherlands and Belgium in large numbers, which are more than ten thousand tones. In most cases, most of the livestock slaughtered are not bred in France, Netherlands and Belgium. According to Humane Society International (2012 1), not all the livestock slaughtered for beef lasagne are raised in these countries however, they are transported across the European Union borders and then slaughtered in the states for meat consumption. Live animals in the past years have been transported across the three nations partly due to the close proximity of slaughterhouse in either country (Humane Society International, 2012). In France, exportation of beef for making lasagne has extended to the neighbouring states of France like Spain as well as Poland (Humane Society International, 2012).

The governments within the European Union and especially in the United Kingdom have begun efforts to ensure the coordinated response towards the establishment and investigations of the menace across Europe. The European Union on its part agreed that the tests for the imported beef products in foreign countries should be tested for the presence of horsemeat and more so throughout the entire meat food chain. The report also indicated that the major people responsible for the distribution and sale of horsemeat are the food retailers and manufacturers as well as the food suppliers who are legally responsible for making sure that the beef products are labelled correctly. The British Food Standards Agency, who are responsible for ensuring food safety, and the Food Authenticity Programme, which develops the required testing methods that check whether the beef lasagne products have been properly labelled or have contaminations, are responsible for the illegal distribution of horsemeat (Humane Society International, 2012).

Processed beef lasagne in Ireland and Spain

Taco Bell, which is an American Based food retail company was involved in the horsemeat scandal and in recent times, has withdrawn the sale of its taco beef product in the European nations and the reason was the fact that some of the sols beef lasagne were found to contain more than ten percent horse DNA (Humane Society International, 2012). These products include beef skewers, made by Brakes catering company, beef lasagne and spaghetti Bolognese, which are ready Birds Eye meals. In Europe, Taco Bell has various outlets in Europe, one in Essex, the other in Manchester and about three in Spain. The companies in recent times said that after testing their beef lasagne, the presence of horsemeat became evident in the products. The Taco Bell Company revealed that some of the beef products, which they bought from their suppliers in Europe contained traces of horsemeat. Immediately the company realized this mistake, they withdrew their sale of beef and also discontinued their purchase of meat products, and later contacted the Food Standards Agency (Humane Society International, 2012).

The presence of low level horse DNA in beef products prompted the Birds Eye to go ahead and remove their readymade beef meals from supermarket shelves based on the fact that they were made from Belgian Companies (Meikle, 2013). The products include the traditional 340g spaghetti Bolognese, the 400g Shepherd’s Pie and the 400g beef lasagne. Further tests that have been conducted on the Birds Eye product, and in particular on the beef lasagne and spaghetti Bolognese, show that these products contain traces of Horse DNA. This has prompted beef manufacturers and traders to introduce a new DNA testing program, which will make sure that no pulverized beef product will be distributed to the retail stores without undergoing thorough screening and DNA testing (Meikle, 2013).

Beef testing in Europe

The local authorities in European countries as well as the Food Standards Agency carry out close to one hundred thousand tests annually, as part of their routine, to detect the numerous food safety issues and fraud issues encompassing the food industry by using the risk based approach system (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2013). The Food Standards Agency requires a more vigorous response from the food industry so as to demonstrate their campaign in fighting the horsemeat scare across Europe. The Food Standards Agency aims at ensuring that every food industry prepares food, sells their products and deserves their product with the quality it has advertised on its cover paper. Food operating businesses are required to carry out authenticity tests on every processed beef products, for example lasagne, beef burgers and meatballs, and then provide the tested results to the Food Standards Agency (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2013). The tests results, which have been submitted to the Food Standards Agency, ought to be published by the specific retail company that was responsible for carrying out the tests. This ensures there is maximum transparency in the food testing and authenticity system for the benefit of the beef product consumers. Additionally, the Food Standards Agency is conducting a nationwide inspection incorporating the various beef products, which are available for consumption to UK consumers. The companies responsible for supplying public institutions like schools and even hospitals are part of the Food Standards Agency sampling programme.

The various countries’ local authorities aim at identifying and understanding t.............

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