Scandal: horse meat discovered in Hamburg

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Horse meat scandal in Hamburg in Ireland and Great Britain

Hamburgers with portions of horse meat were sold in supermarkets in Ireland and the UK. The alleged beef burgers sometimes contained almost 30 percent horse meat, reports the news channel "BBC". Residues of pork have also been detected by the responsible food surveillance authorities in several hamburgers.

In addition to the discounters Iceland, Tesco and Dunnes Stores, according to the "BBC" Aldi and Lidl also sold the contaminated burgers. How the horse meat got into the hamburgers is so far unclear. The DNA of horses and pigs was discovered in the alleged beef burgers during food inspections in Ireland. Professor Alan Reilly, head of the Irish Food Inspectorate FSAI, told the BBC that "there is" a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products because meat from different animals is processed in the same meat processing plant. " However, "at this point there is no clear explanation for the presence of horse DNA in products from meat factories that do not have horse meat in their production processes".

Horse and pig DNA in beef burgers While horse meat is a real delicacy in some countries around the world, "it is not part of the culture to eat horse meat in Ireland, and therefore we do not expect to find it in a burger," explained Prof. Reilly's massive public outrage over the case. The Irish Food Safety Authority reports that the meat comes from two processing plants in the Republic of Ireland. A total of 27 burger products were analyzed, with ten of them showing traces of horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA. The proportion of horse meat in individual hamburgers reached 29 percent.

Unacceptable contamination of beef products According to the authorities, the proportion of horse meat means "there is no risk of damage to health", but for many consumers "the thought of eating horse meat causes massive feelings of disgust". The same applies to Muslims or people of Jewish faith in relation to pork, whose consumption is strictly prohibited by their religion. The FSAI's subsequent research showed how often portions of pork are actually contained in beef products. Pig DNA was detected in 21 out of 31 beef products. Two out of three beef products are therefore contaminated with pork. An intolerable condition for people who for religious reasons do without pork, explained Prof. Alan Reilly.

Hamburgers affected were immediately withdrawn from the sale. While the explanation for the detection of pig DNA in Hamburgers still seems relatively simple, the sometimes extremely high proportion of horse meat is currently puzzling the authorities. A share of almost 30 percent of horse meat suggests that horses were willfully slaughtered and processed here. However, such assumptions have so far not been substantiated. The affected discounters reacted immediately and removed the products from sale. When asked by the "BBC", Aldi, for example, explained that the "Oakhurst Beef Burgers" affected by them were only for sale in Ireland and were immediately withdrawn from the market after appropriate instructions.

How could the horse meat get into the hamburgers? Raymond Ellard, director of consumer protection at FSAI, told the BBC that the companies "voluntarily withdrew products from sales" and that they are "very responsible". The discounters "cooperate fully with the authorities" to investigate how the horse meat got into the hamburgers, emphasized Ellard. Here, a "long chain of inquiries" now had to clarify which raw materials were processed, where they came from and whether cross-contamination could have occurred. (fp)

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