Beware, summer BBQ-ers: there could be horse meat in your pork sausage. Or pork in your beef sausage. Or beef in your chicken sausage. Or chicken (and only chicken) in your turkey sausage.
Marie Bennett writes: (Originally posted 2015)
Often people ask,
“What’s the difference between eating horse meat or beef, pork, mutton or chicken?“.
That’s a great question.
One would assume that because Canada is considered a first world nation, that the Canadian government would carefully regulate all sources of food.
Unfortunately that is not the case.
Horses are sometimes grown specifically for food, but in many cases the horses that are slaughtered in Canada for human consumption, were at one time — someone’s pet. Or they may be discarded race horses. Additionally even stolen horses have ended up butchered.
If you have a horse, or know anything about horses, you know that horses are routinely treated with drugs, such as wormers — that are clearly marked with a warning that they are not to be administered to any animal that is going to enter the human food chain.
In addition, horses are often treated with pain killers, that like worm medications, are not intended to be administered to animals meant for human consumption.
So at this point you might be thinking, but this is Canada and surely Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) employees are checking to make sure that equines treated with drugs, not meant to enter the food chain, are not slaughtered for human consumption.
That’s a really valid assumption but…
The sad truth is, that those selling horses to be slaughtered for human consumption operate on an honor system. The “word” of those dropping off horses to be slaughtered, that the horses are free of drugs, is taken at face value.
There are very few, if any, checks and balances in place.
If I were someone who was raising cattle, or hogs, or sheep, or chickens for slaughter, I would be up on arms and complaining that the playing field is not level.
Kill buyers, AKA meat buyers, watch newspapers, online ads, etc. for cheap horses, and they frequent auctions, where they buy horses, that in many cases were someone’s pet. Again, even stolen horses end up slaughtered for human consumption.
Again, it’s important to note that there are literally no checks and balances in place to assure that horses being slaughtered are free of drugs. The word of those selling the horses is accepted as fact.
In some cases horse meat ends up on Canadian dinner plates marked as something other than meat – yes, people intentionally purchase horse meat in Canada BUT…
In other cases you may be eating tainted horse meat without knowing it.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency employees are NOT surprised when this happens.
Read on for more about recent cases of horse, and other meats, ending up on the dinner plates of Canadians — without them knowing what exactly they are eating.
Why aren’t Canadian food inspectors surprised there’s horse meat in YOUR sausages?
“Beware, summer BBQ-ers: there could be horse meat in your pork sausage. Or pork in your beef sausage. Or beef in your chicken sausage. Or chicken (and only chicken) in your turkey sausage.
Those are some of the examples cited in a new study from researchers at the University of Guelph, which found 20 per cent of sausages sampled from Canadian grocery stores contained meats that were not on the label. The study was commissioned by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which, according to the Canadian Press, was “not surprised” by the results.”
Read the full story in McLean’s Magazine.
CBC: 1 in 5 sausages tested across Canada contains different meat than labelled.
“About one in five of the sausages we tested had some off-label ingredients in them, which is alarming,” said Robert Hanner, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph.
The CFIA reached out to Hanner for the study after the European horse meat scandal in 2013, where food labelled as beef was found to have horse meat — in some cases beef was completely substituted by horse meat.”
CTV: Horse meat found in sausages at grocery stores across Canada.
“Researchers from the University of Guelph examined 100 sausages from grocery stores across Canada and found that one-in-five contained off-label ingredients, including horse meat.
Seven of 27 beef sausages examined in the study contained pork and one of 38 supposedly pure pork sausages contained horse meat.
Of 20 chicken sausages, four contained turkey and one had beef while five of the 15 turkey sausages studied contained no turkey at all — just chicken.
Lead study author Robert Hanner calls the results alarming.”
Read the full story at CTV.
TORONTO SUN: The mystery meat behind your sausage. Worried about the MANE ingredient?
“Our labelling laws require you to put what’s in the product on the label,” said Hanner. “For me, this just points to some gaps in our traceability system that some of this off-label meat is getting through.
If this is happening farther up the supply chain, where some of their suppliers aren’t declaring what’s in there, could it be because some of this meat is unfit for human consumption?”
Read the full story on the Toronto Sun website.
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Kerry Vinson is an Ontario-based animal behaviour consultant who considers the air shipping of horses for slaughter to be animal cruelty. Please see this excellent letter here. We are very inspired to see a growing interest in this issue from the scientific community....
"I’ll be in touch tomorrow to donate to this important cause. How cruel and unnecessary Horse slaughter is. Modern society was built on the back of the working horse - and this is how we repay them. Classy."