The discovery of traces of horsemeat in some supermarket burgers generated great interest plus a veritable punfest in which I joined until I was hoarse. It generated outrage in the UK because horses are regarded more as pets since their use as draft animals virtually disappeared. The DNA tests which established this are so sensitive that if the same abattoir were used for horses and cattle, there might be DNA traces found. Even if actual horsemeat went into the burgers there is no question of danger; it might even improve them.
Horsemeat is widely eaten in many countries, as Susanna Forrest reports in a very informative piece in the Telegraph. I myself have eaten it abroad several times and found it delicious. It is somewhat gamier than beef and contains very little fat. The reason it is not widely eaten in the UK is cultural rather than dietary, and even though it is hardly ever sold here, the UK does export horsemeat to several countries. It was quite common during and after World War II, when food was difficult to come by and rationed. I remember on visits to Grimsby as a child a shop called “Here we Sell Horseflesh for Human Food” (that was the actual name of the shop, though locals called it simply “the horsemeat shop”). It seems a pity nowadays that we reject perfectly good and very tasty meat, though of course it should be properly labelled.
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