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Saturday, April 12, 2014

What's in Your Burger -- Is Horse Meat Really So Bad?

Horse meat has been in the news lately. Why? Companies such as Aldi have discovered some of the frozen foods they were selling in the UK actually contained horse meat instead of beef. Burgers sold in Ireland were actually horse meat, not beef. And horse meat is now being served in France. So, what is so bad about horse meat?

Controversy over horse meat

Consumers know little about the nutritional benefits of horse meat. Actually, horse meat is in many ways healthier than beef, according to nutritionists. It has less fat than beef, making it a better source of protein, and it is high in iron.

So, what's their beef? (pardon the pun) Many people, particularly Americans and most Europeans, have a higher regard for animals like horses and dogs and thus find eating them distasteful (another pun). It has nothing, really, to do with the meat itself; it's just the idea of eating the animal.

A burger should be a burger

Another reason for the controversy is that people don't like being fooled. If the package says beef, it should contain beef and not horse meat. In the case of Aldi, a frozen beef lasagne actually contained between 30-100 percent horse meat. Of course, labeling it correctly as horse meat lasagne would probably mean it wouldn't sell at all, but much of the controversy surrounds improper labeling and the importance of correctly identifying what the product contains.

So, while eating horse meat may be common in China, Asia and parts of Europe, it is considered in bad taste by most Americans and Europeans.
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