There have been discreet rumors since the horse meat scandal in Europe claiming. that if the truth were told, the United States also has occurrences of tainted meat. While it has been several years since those headlines rattled the public, fast forward to Aug. 23, 2015. The proof is in the samples.
Ground meat samples taken by the researchers in the Food Science Program at Chapman University in California, have indeed discovered horse meat. A doctoral student, examining 48 samples of ground meat, found 10 of them mislabeled and two contained horse meat. This is confirmation that the meat we provide to our families may not be what we think. Perha5ps your hamburgers have traces of pork meat, horse meat, or earth worms? The irony is that the question of “what is in the meat?” is not any longer asked in Europe or Mexico – it has been proven in the United States.
It is noteworthy that only ground meat sold retail and online was tested in the Food Science study. But there are innumerable products available with meat that might be or might not be as stated on the label. What is the public to do? We are expected to believe the labels and eat 100% beef when a mixture of pork meat and horse meat has also “found its way” into the product. There are dangerous drugs in horse meat and some religions prohibit pork – As asked in the breaking release by Habitat for Horses, “Do we really trust our food inspection system?”
Further, horse has been deemed NOT for human consumption in the United States. Habitat for Horses succinctly states what the majority of Americans think about horse meat:
There are few things worse than eating an animal you love, except when you do it because you were lied to by horse-hating, money grubbing companies who will do anything to make an extra buck. Any company or organization that promotes the slaughter of horses, any company that is involved in the storage, handling, and transportation of horses to slaughter, and any Federal Office of Whatever than turns a blind eye to the slaughter of horses is at fault for the complete corruption of our food supply.
After the 2013 horse meat/labeling scandal in Europe, the complex and vulnerable food chain was investigated and, in the United States, consumers were placated that our meat supply had not become tainted. That may be true then, but here and now the studies just released by Chapman University have proven otherwise. Chapman University’s one study dealt with identification of species’ meat in ground meat, and the other concentrated on species labeling. The meat products analyzed were sold commercially in the United States and mislabeling occurred in both studies.
Forty-eight samples were bought from five online meat distributors and three supermarkets and one butcher in Orange County, California. Represented were 15 different meat species. They were analyzed, using “a combination of DNA barcoding and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR),” for the beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, pork and horse meats. Thirty-eight were labeled correctly but ten were mislabeled. Additional meat species were found in nine of the samples and one was totally incorrect. Horse meat was found in two of the tested samples.
Based on this study, one might conclude that the various meat species commonly found in ground meats are caused by cross-contamination. Mislabeling occurs if different meats are ground using the same equipment. Or is it possible that lower cost species are added into the ground meat
intentionally for cost savings?
A number of other results were gleaned from the two studies at Chapman University. As provided by Horsetalk, the study results have been published in the Food Control Journal.
~ Charles A. Quinto, Rebecca Tinoco, Rosalee S. Hellberg.
DNA barcoding reveals mislabeling of game meat species on the U.S. commercial market. Food Control, 2016; 59: 386 DOI:10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.05.043
~ Dawn E. Kane, Rosalee S. Hellberg.
Identification of species in ground meat products sold on the U.S. commercial market using DNA-based methods. Food Control, 2016; 59: 158 DOI:10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.05.020