Tesco, the United Kingdom's largest retailer, just pulled two frozen beef burger products, after Irish regulators found a large percentage of the patties contained horse meat. To be exact, 37 percent of the products tested in an investigation by the Food Safety Authority (FSA) of Ireland contained horse DNA while 85 percent contained pig DNA. They also found traces of horse DNA in raw ingredients. "The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious," said Tim Smith, Tesco's technical director. "Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards." That right has to include not eating horse, when you thought you were eating beef.
It's unclear how or why there's horse meat in Tesco's beef burgers, but the supermarket chain is looking into it. Ireland's Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney suspects a supplier near the border of Northern Ireland and said the non-beef additive was "either falsely labeled, or somebody made a mistake, or somebody was behaving recklessly. That allowed some horsemeat product to come into the system that shouldn't have been here." Meanwhile, the FSA says that the horse meat isn't hazardous -- though as Tesco pointed out themselves, it is illegal. But hey, just because something's illegal and unwelcome doesn't mean it's not delicious. Just ask the French.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.