Horse meat scandal spirals out of control

via: talesfromthelou

via: talesfromthelou

The traces of horse meat found in some burger products in the UK that I reported on earlier has nothing on what’s being discovered now the disinfecting power of sunlight is being applied to the rot that’s moving through the European processed meat industry.

Worst one, so far, are ready to eat meals labeled to contain only beef, that have been found to contain 100% horse meat instead.  

The Europe-wide scandal over horse meat sold as beef spread Sunday as leading French retailers pulled products from their shelves and threats of legal action flew.

France promised the results of an urgent inquiry into the scandal within days and the government announced crisis talks with meat industry representatives on Monday night.

As Britain dismissed calls for a ban on EU meat, producers and distributors insisted they had been deceived about the true nature of the meat and vowed to take legal action.

Several ranges of prepared food have been withdrawn in Britain, France and Sweden after it emerged that frozen food companies had been using horse meat instead of beef in their lasagne and other pasta dishes, as well as shepherd’s pies and moussakas.

As processed meat products are exported and labelled as containing beef, it is now somewhat doubtful we can believe what’s on the label.

I wonder if some of this scandal will come to us via imported meat products?



This story started in the UK, and there the politicians are trying to put a lid on this

U.K. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said “criminal substitution” was probably to blame for horse meat discovered in packaged meals meant to contain beef.

“It looks as if the problem is limited to processed beef,” Paterson said in an interview on BBC television yesterday. “It looks as if there has been criminal substitution of beef with horse. There may be further bad news this week. I do not know how far this incompetence or criminal activity extends.”

Paterson said that under European Union rules, the U.K. can only ban food imports if there is a threat to human health. The U.K. Food Standards Agency has asked Findus Group Ltd., which has found horse meat in some of its frozen products, to test for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, known as “bute,” which in large doses may pose a risk to humans.

Somehow I don’t think this story has ended just yet.  We should expect most other EC countries to start their own testing.

I’m sure there are a few New Zealand importers of processed “beef” products that may want to front-foot this themselves.


Sources:  AFP, Bloomberg


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  • BJ

    NZ needs to cash in on this now – taking our premium products to European markets and telling them how much its going to cost NOT waiting for them to say how much they want to pay.

    • thor42

      Agreed. I tell you what – this has made *me* a bit nervous about having frozen pre-processed meals. Shepherd’s pie and the like.

      • Orange

        A bit skittery huh?

    • surfisup

      umm, no, haven’t you spotted the exchange rate.British are poor now.

    • GregM

      Oh yes my word this time we are looking at a big dividend, a big dividendaaah…

    • axeman

      Nah the Brits have confirmed that their meat is Shergar free

  • Phil

    I hear they do a nice Spaghetti Bologneigh

    • Rockfield

      Yeah, and you get the trots if you eat them …

      • ConwayCaptain

        A Horse a horse Findus a Horse.
        Apologies to William Shakespeare and Richard 111

        • Bunswalla

          Richard III was last heard to say “A car park? You want to build a bloody car park? Over my dead body!”

        • sandynobb

          I can hear Kenneth Williams saying those words.

      • lofty

        And you get nightmares from eating it as well.

        • lofty

          Of course eating horse promotes bad stable manners.

          • BJ

            I canter agree more

          • Bunswalla

            I fear that trying to do something about it now is just bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

          • Bunswalla

            Come on guys, these are terrible. You’ll have to rein them in.

          • BJ

            Halt-er right there then

          • They’ve come out with a children’s burger: “My Little Pony”. I tried one of their burgers. They seemed good to firm, soft in places.

      • lofty

        Then if you get sick you have to go to the Horsepital..

      • rangitoto

        I’m so hungry, I could eat a lasagne.

        • BJ

          You’re flogging a dead horse there

    • Rockfield

      I always wondered where filly mignon came from ….

    • Bunswalla

      Let’s not put the cart before the horse on this one

    • Rockfield

      We could probably do something with Shepherds Piebald as well.

    • Timboh

      keep away from the filly mignon

    • BJ

      Findus the Galloping Gourmet

    • Orange

      Jolly Europeans, always horsing around.

  • Dani

    Poms should be thankful, Romanian beef has no mad cow disease and is free range (aka gypsy)

    • Bunswalla

      If only it were beef, it wouldn’t be a problem

  • surfisup

    only surprised it is not dogmeat just like the uk .

  • Mr_Blobby

    So what’s wrong with horse meat, dog meat, kangaroo etc.Just make sure it is labelled correctly.

    My question is where did all the horse meat come from?

    If you want to save an endangered species introduce it to the human food chain. There is no shortage of chicken, lamb and beef.

    • lofty

      Couldnt agree more Mr Blobby…farming of Kiwi, Kereru etc for consumption would do wonders for the population of the blimmin things, but no, dont you even dare think about it. The poor rearing rates are the domain of DOC permitted sanctuarys etc.

    • Callum

      I wouldn’t really want to rely on the Romanian food safety standards, for horse or any other meat. Especially when they aren’t willing to tell you the meat came from Romania.

      • Mr_V4

        This is the result of eating too much drugged up horsemeat:

    • tarkwin

      I know where all the horse meat comes from, every horse I bet on only seems to have three legs.

      • 4077th

        4 legged dog rolls or in this case 4 legged lasagna.

  • unitedtribes

    And a statement from Findus web page

    A passion for great quality food

    The Findus Group is a multinational food business headquartered in the UK and with operations around Europe. It is the parent Group of Young’s, Findus and The Seafood Company. An estimated 20 million people eat our products on average every week.

    We combine our passion for great quality food with an active commitment to good nutrition and sustainability in everything we do.

    Yeah right

    • StupidDisqus

      An estimated 20 million people

      it’s prole-feed, then.

  • StupidDisqus

    Who cares what bludgers out buying cheap “beef” products from supermarkets ctually eat?

    The clearly don’t care themselves if they’re buying that sh*t.

    Purchasing one’s meat from an individual personal butcher shows you care about what you eat. Buying crud from a supermarket is the meat eater’s version of sending your kids to state schools – it just shows you hate your kids.

    if you love your kids, you send them to an independent, private school.
    If you love your steak, you buy it from an independent, private butchery.

    • Mr_V4

      Ahh various butchers have been caught over the years trying all sorts preservatives on their meat, SO2 etc.

      If its sold as beef it better be beef simple as that, doesn’t matter if your business is large or small.

  • 4077th

    I bet Socialist Cindy will be canceling any planned visits to Romania!

  • Whafe

    Part of my work in Primary Production has been working with systems, protocols to enable supply to the EU etc etc…
    I cant phathom that none of these products have actually been tested….
    I mean Tesco’s etc will have driven the price to the floor so as they can make a HUGE margin, whilst at the same time believing the producer when they say it is 100% Beef…. Well why were there not any random tests done on the products? This happens all the time with Fruit & Vegetables etc….
    Supermarkets will run for the hills, they will know of this rot, they will step away quickly

  • David Broome

    Great quotes from the NAIT Bill when it was in the house. Given the equine debacle in the EU, which is the benchmark for market access, it makes you go WTF to see that they didn’t know what species of animal was in a burger let alone a ready meal.

    That didn’t stop the politicians glad-handing a system to make us jump an illusionary hurdle. My question to EU consumers is this..would you trust meat in a burger from NZ or from Ireland or France? So why the hell are we not knocking down their doors?


    Dr ASHRAF CHOUDHARY (Labour): ….I say at the outset that this is a bill that the Labour Government started in 2004, and then we formally committed to implementing it and allocating resources in 2008. I think it is very important to say at the outset that this is an issue about animal tracing that all the key exporting countries around the world have already. We are the one that has actually been slack. I have a list of the countries that have already got some kind of national animal identification and tracing scheme in their systems: Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States—in that case it is voluntary—South Korea, Japan, the European Union, Argentina, and Brazil. Those countries have it just for export purposes.

    IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Labour—Palmerston North): ….I think it is really important that we are able to clearly demonstrate, particularly to people in Europe, Asia, and the United States—who will place a premium on this knowledge—where their products have come from and in what conditions their products have been raised and created. This really does present a considerable opportunity to New Zealand, which has a good clean, green image internationally and a good reputation for good employment and environmental practices.

    GARETH HUGHES (Green): Kia ora. Ngā mihi ki a koutou. Kia ora. It is a real privilege to take a call in this debate in Parliament today. I do not know whether I am the right person to be taking a call on the National Animal Identification and Tracing Bill given that I am a vegetarian and have been for the last 11 years. So my interest is in the animals, not necessarily in eating the animals. But the Green Party welcomes this legislation and will be joining with other parties in Parliament to vote in support of it….

    PHIL TWYFORD (Labour): The National Animal Identification and Tracing Bill is such a sensible bill that is has united all the parties in the House. It has even united the carnivores and the vegetarians, so it was interesting to hear Gareth Hughes, one of the few vegetarians in the House, speaking on a bill about tracking animal livestock. I was on a podium the other day with Gareth Hughes. …

    This bill is the first step in a system that will deliver traceability for our livestock industries, and that is a standard that we need to meet for the sake of keeping confidence in our agricultural exports. As Iain Lees-Galloway was saying before, it really raises the prospect of traceability from the farm gate to the plate. Increasingly, socially and environmentally conscious consumers around the world are demanding that traceability. They want to know not only what country their piece of beef, lamb, or venison came from but also what part of the country it came from, what farm it came from, what conditions it was raised under, and what its pedigree or genetic background is. That is something we will have to seriously consider…..

  • Phar Lap

    The rumour started in Ru mania .The French have rued the day they let that lot into the EEC,not forgetting they have been poleaxed by Poland,who continue to flog dead horses as they deny culpability.

  • The EU has a quota limit on imports of NZ beef (1200 tonnes a year), and imposes a 20% tariff on them as well, and imposes significant traceability requirements on that beef. NZ exporters can apply for licences as part of a wider allowance for imports, but the tariffs on that range from around 120%-250%.

    So fuck them. The Common Agricultural Policy is one the most egregiously anti-environment, economically irrational, poverty inducing policies on the planet. One study said food in Europe would be 17% cheaper without it, and it would mean good quality meat from NZ, Australia, Argentina etc would get in, without the need to resort to criminal gangster groups flogging a few dead horses off.

    Time to demand an abolition of the quotas, and for the tariffs to be cut commensurate to manufactured imports. However, the Green Party has now twice made statements that effectively mean it supports the Common Agricultural Policy (supporting Europe’s regulatory efforts to resist globalisation), but the NZ MSM is too inept to call it up on it.

    By the way the other story going round now is that the Romanian horse meat trade is because the Romanian government banned the use of horse pulled trailers on public roads, so hoards of people living off the land with very little, now have assets worthless to them for transport – so they have sold them for meat.

    Another example of how government policy that thinks it knows best for people, just wrecks their lives and means they find other ways to realise the value of what they own.

    • Mr_V4


      We should immediatly institute a Meat-Day landing. Invade the pricks with shiploads of meat and liberate their consumers.

    • BJ

      What NZ needs to say to these markets is that we have a superior product and if the meats origin is NZ then that is the source – fullstop. We can offer our superior product -Grassfed free range at a superior product price and if they don’t want to take it then we can sell it all to India. This traceability thing is crap for NZ – the meatworks already had requirements and checks in place and now if a production line goes down parts of a carcass can get recorded out of order so the information on a packet of meat about the place of origin may become untrue. The only thing people that shop for meat in a supermarket want to know is that it is from NZ and that’s the way we should insist it is done – not buy in to this mad world crap idea.

      As you can see by the current issue over horsemeat – if there was any issue with meat from a farm in NZ – our whole meat export industry would suffer – so where’s the point to bullshit labeling. Just because something says it is does not mean its true because human error comes in to it and then if an unsatisfactory product was traced back to a particular farm – it might ruin a farmer whose meat, it wasn’t. Anyway as I said there are checks in place at our meatworks in NZand all this bullshit labeling is crazy and in fact impossible for farmers to carry out correctly- I won’t explain that further – go and ask a farmer why its crazy stupid mad.

      We need to market NZ meat as a superior product and all meat exported should need only a ‘NZ’ meat label.

  • David

    NZ has many slow racehorses that generally end up as dog tucker. No longer, here is an export opportunity for an entrepreneurial knackers’ yard owner.

  • Mr ED coming back to haunt Wilbour