[dropcap]U[/dropcap]nless you’ve been living under a stone for the past month or so, you must have heard about the horse meat scandal across Europe and the UK. It turns out that horse meat has been a regular ingredient of beef processed food products for some time.
Traces of horse meat in processed food are not an unfortunate one-off contamination. Oh no. Supermarket chain Aldi (one of the many supermarkets which appear to be victims in “horsegate”) confirmed that some of their beef products contain up to 100% of horse meat.
While the supermarket chains were giving us the silent treatment, their shelf stackers were busy withdrawing the “wrongly labelled” processed food products. This is not to suggest that they knew about the contamination, but the scandal is turning into a much bigger issue than first thought and it just begs the question: Do you know what you eat?
Processed food – Do you know what you eat?
The answer to that question could be difficult to answer at the moment; especially if ready meals are part of your diet. Unless you happen to have a fully equipped lab in your spare bedroom, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s gone into your shop-bought burgers and other processed food packs.
Avoiding unwanted ingredients into your meals is as simple as going to your local butcher. Generally you can be sure about the authenticity and quality of all products they sell and rely on the information they provide. You can even ask them to cut, mince and season your steak.
In many cultures and countries horse meat is part of the human diet. It’s a lean meat and its nutritional values are similar to those of beef meat. Apparently “horse meat has a slightly sweet taste reminiscent of a combination of beef and venison”. It also needs less cooking time than beef.
Perhaps one of the most unusual dishes made from it is a horse meat ice cream. And no, it’s not one of Heston Blumenthal’s weird and wonderful molecular gastronomic creations.
It’s also known as basashi ice cream and it’s one of the “unusual ice cream flavours” made by a Japanese company.
In many Western countries (such as the UK), horses have pet status and because of that, eating them is a bit of a taboo. As a consumer, I expect to know what’s gone into the production of my dinner. If horse meat is present in processed food products, I expect to know about it prior to my purchase.