Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Burgergate Continues: You ARE Eating Horse

Hey folks, I'm back! Sorry for the wait-- busy busy.

Quick note: The Winnebago 4H Tack Sale is coming up on Saturday March 2nd. It runs from 9am - 3pm at the Sunnyview Expo Center Winnebago County Fair Grounds.

So where are we with the horse-meat-in-burgers scandal? Well first of all, the problem is now officially global. The first horse burgers advertised as "beef" were found in the UK, but now it's spread to all of Europe, even Switzerland. Nestlé (yep, same guys that make the chocolate) is one of the biggest offenders, and just withdrew several chilled meat-pasta products from sale in France, Italy and Spain. Nestle had previously said their products were not affected. HAH.

And if you think this is not happening in America, you are an idiot.

We already know that plenty of drugged-up ex-racehorses have been winding up in the European food chain. The case of Silly Shark is just one proven example. So if tainted American horse meat had been making it all the way to Europe, with their fancy paperwork systems, DNA food testing, etc, of course it's happening in our own backyard.

Seriously, where do you think those huge, super cheap plastic tubes of meat come from? That's almost certainly not just beef, sister. Those gas station sacks of stuff are a probably disgusting mix of meat scraps from multiple states and even countries, various animals, E-coli bacteria and non-meat additives. And no, I am not exaggerating.

It's actually commonly accepted and legal for the beef industry to:
  • Use non-beef proteins and fillers to bulk out economy burgers and sausages
  • Extract "beef" from bones, hides, hooves, connective tissue and other scraps via chemicals
  • Get meat from countries where hygiene and safe handling can't be proven, much less type of critter
  • NOT test ground beef for bacteria, because there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for E. coli pathogen.
Did you know that a "beef sausage" only legally has to be about 45% beef?
When you just say "sausage," there has to be only about 35% of some kind of meat.

By the way, this is not the first time there's been a meat scandal. Not by a long shot. One of the biggest past episodes was the 1981 Australian meat scandal, where a California inspector got suspicious about the overly dark "beef" coming in from the land down under. Turns out that "beef" was actually donkey, goat, kangaroo and horse.

For more information, you can read the following:

Five Reasons Why Burger King's Horse Meat Scandal Could Happen Here
ead more here:
The Kansas City Star Reports "Beef's Raw Edges," an Expose of Big Beef Negligence
Horse Meat's Health Risks and more links to ongoing stories
A Guide to the Current Horse Meat Scandal
Food Fraud is Everywhere: "Bogus beef. Fake Fish. Dodgy Vodka."
Ground Beef is Unhealthy and Contaminated

Personally, I have been totally vegetarian for about two weeks now, my husband for about half that time. Not that we're happy about it! We both still believe it's okay to eat animals. We'd just prefer that our meat is A) actually the meat on the label instead of chemically processed horse, and B) raised humanely. I'll let you know when we find a local steady supplier.


  1. is a pretty good resource to find local farmers, their all supposed to be humane. I was impressed with the two local farms in my area that I found through here.

  2. Reading this article while there's a pack of sausages in the fridge... *shivers*
    The label tells me it's turkey meat + some other stuff if I remember correctly. Is it at least turkey meat or do the labels mean nothing for it like the ground beef you mentioned?

    1. It's pretty much the same deal as beef sausage. Is there real turkey in it? Absolutely. Is there other stuff in it too, stuff you don't want to know about? Probably, yes. Look for "mechanically separated meat" on the package, which means you're eating bits of turkey brains, feet and bone turned into pink goo and extracted with chemicals. Look for "in ___ casing," meaning the sausage meat is stuffed in the intestine casing of ___ animal. Look for "rennet" which is stomach lining from calves. "Turkey" sausage also often contains chicken scraps, sodium nitrate (potentially cancer-causing) and unhealthy fillers like corn syrup.

      For "pure" sausage (although all sausages contain spices, etc), your best bet is your local butcher or farmer, not a big company.