The meat buzz of 2013 hasn't been about some newly discovered heritage pig breed or a newly vogue cut of steak. It's been about a kind of meat people have been unwittingly eating around Europe since January: horsemeat.
If you're looking for horsemeat in particular, there are butcher shops where you can seek it out. But pony parts have somehow infiltrated the beef supply chain for packaged food products and chain restaurants in Europe—a breakdown that says more about our globalized food industry than it does about the ethics of eating horse.
Click through the gallery to learn which companies are serving horsemeat in their “beef.”
Photo: Philippe Huguen/Getty Images
Findus Beef Products
On Friday February 8, 2013, the Swedish frozen-food giant admitted that there may be between 60 to 100 percent horsemeat in some of its “beef” products. That’s not trace amounts of equine DNA contamination—we’re talking ground “beef” that’s composed almost completely of another animal’s flesh. And it begs the questions: Does horsemeat taste just like beef?
Photo: Andrew Yates/Getty Images
This Swedish company is known worldwide for its classy, inexpensive furniture, unrivaled efficiency, and, more recently and infamously, horsemeat meatballs. Sales of its Köttbullar meatballs were halted in 14 European countries after authorities in the Czech Republic said they were found to contain horsemeat. On February 25, 2013, Ikea informed customers that sales of its meatballs would be temporarily halted.
Photo: Johannes Cleris/Reuters
Nestlé got in on the horsemeat action as well: Two of its subsidiaries had to withdraw products from Spain and Italy after the Spanish agricultural ministry reported on February 25, 2013 that it found horsemeat DNA during tests. Six different items from the La Cocinera frozen-foods brand galloped off Spanish shelves, and what was supposed to be beef ravioli from Buitoni’s tested positive for horse DNA and was removed from Italian stores.
Photo: Sergio Perez and Paul Hanna/Reuters
Less than two years after having a false-advertising class-action lawsuit brought against for selling “beef” that only contained 36 percent cow (it’s now up to 88 percent beef), Taco Bell is in trouble again: Beef at the chain’s United Kingdom locations tested positive for horse DNA, according to a Food Standards Agency report issued on March 1, 2013. The suspect batch of meat has been pulled, but there’s no telling how many Locos Caballos tacos were served.
Photo: Fred Prouser/Reuters
The British press unleashed a whopper on Burger King when it pointed out that the same supplier that had sold horsemeat-tainted products to Tesco had also sold beef to the burger chain. On January 31, 2013, Burger King confirmed it bought beef from a supplier that sold contaminated products, but, citing its own test results, the restaurant said that none of the burgers it sold contained horsemeat.
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy. Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast | TakePart.com