Horse News

EU DNA Tests Show Up to 5% Horsemeat in Bulk of Beef Products


EU on February 15 ordered 2,250 DNA tests on prepared meals

A sample of a meat product is seen in a laboratory to be DNA-tested on February 19, 2013 in Berlin. Up to 5.0 percent of horsemeat was found in thousands of DNA tests on beef products from across the 27-nation EU, the European Commission says.

Thousands of DNA tests on beef products across the European Union found the meals contained up to 5.0 percent of horsemeat, the European Commission said Tuesday.

The EU on February 15 ordered 2,250 DNA tests on prepared meals said to contain beef in the wake of a horsemeat scandal that hugely undermined consumer confidence in the food industry.

It also ordered tests in horse carcasses for the potentially harmful horse drug phenylbutazone, or bute, which is banned from the human food chain.

The Commission briefly posted the up to five percent figure on its website but then removed the statement. More details are expected later in the day giving country-by-country findings.

The results have been much awaited after millions of ready meals were pulled from shelves this year in the widening scandal — from meatballs in Ikea stores to sausages in Russia and frozen burgers in Britain’s Tesco chain.

The EU responded by calling in Europe’s law enforcers and urged bloc-wide DNA food testing to restore consumer confidence.

“Consumers have a right to expect that food is exactly what it says on the label,” said British Food Minister David Heath this week.

As country after country was hit, the scandal exposed the complex web of suppliers involved in the food chain as well as the presence of fraud.

Just last week the Netherlands’ food watchdog asked hundreds of European firms supplied by a Dutch wholesaler to check 50,000 tonnes of beef suspected to be contaminated with horse.

Brussels has said it plans stiffer sanctions against food fraud following the discovery of mislabelled ready-made meals across the bloc.

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28 replies »

  1. I read a bit earlier this morning an article saying that two European agencies were downplaying the effects of bute in the human food chain. According to their tests they say the results were of no real concern…?

    There are a couple of other thoughts pulsing through my addled brain…

    First this could be very good for U.S. Cattlemen to produce more beef to fill the void left once horse meat is removed from the products on the shelf,

    Secondly this could lead to the BLM issuing more grazing permits on federal lands thus affecting our wild horses and burros.

    It’s a vicious circle that does not begin and end in Europe…it’s world wide!


    • Steve:

      You are absolutely correct about the “downplaying” B$.

      How dare these humans charged with carrying out safety! HOW DARE THEY!!!!

      I saw some of these press pieces and was outraged by these “official’s” responses.

      These are the very same people that allow equine slaughter abuse, neglect and contaminated foodstuffs to their consumers.


      • How dare they is RIGHT! We’re dealing with greedy people, who could care less where all the contaminated horsemeat is being sold and consumed! It’s probably been going on for quite sometime, but with it all coming to a head now the only thing they can do is downplay it. Isn’t it just great, dealing with such low-lifes, who could care less about the horrific and brutal treatment of our equines and all the fraud with deceiving the public?! This is much too serious for anyone to downplay and it’s time for those responsible to be held accountable.


  2. I would really like to know why the US is not testing for horse meat yet? Since this horse meat scandle has broke – here in Denver – hamburger has been on sale in every supermarket, all the fast foods are running bogo sales, bogo1cent sales, and coupons for burger meals, they have always had the dollar menu. The hamburger used to be marked Canada, US, and Mexico, even the steaks and chops were marked from these 3 countries and who has not noticed the deep dark color of meat in supermarkets these last few years.

    I have not been a member of Sams or Costco for several years now but I do remember that many of their frozen food meals and canned meats came from other countries. That is what they promoted – foods from around the world.

    I believe that we are getting horse in our food also, “it’s a small world after all” as the saying goes. They just want to sell it out before they get caught and before they start testing – because they know it will kill the meat industry in this country. Because there are many folks in this country and not just on this site, that are trying to eat healthier and are concerned with health, and are either becoming vegetarian or are eating less meat, and this could put the nail in the meat industries coffin. Just my opinion for today.


  3. I think the pro-horse slaughter criminals have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. The “world wide demand for horsemeat” is revealed to be a few cuts in the butcher shop and in a few restaurants actually labelled horsemeat, while the remainder of the carcass was ground and dispersed to other meat “combiners” to fill out those quotas.

    We can learn much from the drug industry they said. Never mind that the filler inggredient meant thousands and thousands of frightened, stolen, roughed up horses would meet their end for the purpose of further fraud. Never mind that no health agency will accept bute as a component of any food eaten by humans. Never mind that the majority of citizens of the world want the slaughter of horses stopped.

    No, it is not up to the reasonable and compassionate to make these decisions.


    • Until people lose their blood lust for meat, the “meat mafia” will continue to provide the cheapest product they can find – without regard to the suffering involved. This includes trying to label horse as a type of beef. Those who eat beef especially contribute to this demand. As Steve pointed out above, wild horses and their habitats will be at more risk as the demand for more grazing land pushes them off our public lands – with the help of unscrupulous government officials. $$$$$$$ trumps kindness every time.


      • I’m going to take the hit – I will not give up on our dreams (remember???) of a kinder gentler nation. $$$$ is the root of evil. Evil does not trump kindness. Never. We must be diligent and stand up to protect our way of life. We find ourselves at a turning point here.

        Global marketing and profiteers that churn our perceptions have gained a toe hold on our lifestyles. Our horses are sent across borders, despite the ban on slaughter on American soil. What do the politicians not understand? And since Obama turned control of the wild horses and burros to the foreign influenced corporate ranchers and extractive industries, we have seen the most devastating attempt yet to eradicate them as pests from our heritage. We have been lulled by “hope and change” but have reluctantly but finally come to the realization that it is a fight now to save the future our forefathers envisioned without the chains of government mediocracy. Who wants to see our public lands ruined and berefit of life?

        Our food, education, ownership of land and home, and ownership of open public rangeland are at stake. No – $$$$ does not trump and never will as long as we say not.

        Call your reps and demand the ban be passed to Obama for signature. Then find out how to create an initiative in your state and organize a proposition for voting to outlaw slaughter in your state.

        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


      • Good, Janet Schultz. Stand up and be counted! Boycott and advocate. Make sure the SAFE Act is passed and becomes law. State by state we can be picked apart (see the disastrous effect of OK rescinding their ban), but on a national level with a national law that trumps state laws, we can ban horse slaughter.


      • The ban in OK was legislative and so was overturned when corrupt politicians swayed the vote. The ban in CA is by the people and must be voted on to overturn unless a court finds it unconstitutional. A vote by the people stands against the politicians.
        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


      • That is right Janet. Californians did vote to ban horse slaughter in 1998. That is one of the few states that has done so – is there another?

        Texas has a 1949 law, and the New Jersey legislature recently passed a horse slaughter ban. I believe it is illegal in Florida and Illinois to slaughter horses, but don’t know if either were by initiatives from the people or legislative.

        Agree that people’s initiatives are always best – unless struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. I can see the other side using the “Right to Farm” argument.

        State-by-state is a very arduous process leaving so many “holes” from states where it would still remain legal. The SAFE Act is still the best option, IMHO.


      • Yes, the SAFE Act must be passed. 100% agree! At the same time, bans on the state level must be in place as an overloop. In CA, it is also illegal to transport to slaughter – but because New Mexico allows the slaughter business to thrive, our horses are bought and illegally transported.

        That is the loophole – sloppy border control.
        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


  4. The only meat I will eat from now on will be venison, and I know where that came from. After seeing and reading about our treatment of all animals, pigs,sheep,chickens let alone horses I am done with this meat habit.


  5. Can we all be so naive as to think we don’t eat horse? What about all those little freeze dried bits in cup of soup, or any frozen or prepared food? How about dog food, remember Kennel-Ration they used up our American Mustangs, think the practice has stopped? Who knows? I know one thing people will always try to defeat the system to make more money. No government.or agency can protect us. I don’t eat anything that was once alive for many reasons, but now I have one more.


  6. I got creeped out by our food supply and the poor taste of foods whether at diners, drive-ups, fancy eating places, or grocery chains. So I started changing my pets diets cause they were throwing up and never seemed full of course. I also couldn’t stand the meats it worried me what they actually were, appearance was supposed to be like chicken or beef but their odd tastes began scaring me, I would throw the meats away, soon canned foods, and even soups. Reading labels does nothing, obviously look at Europe. These people have been deceived now America and Europe is being fed how safe bute is! Its such low levels. By even the most minute amounts the bute is dangerous. The overpaid and under the table paid veterinarians shouldn’t be actually discussing how safe this is to human beings. They are veterinarians, PERIOD!


    • Yes, horsedrag & Cynthia, I used to want to believe there wasn’t horse meat in pet food – because in the 1970’s American pet food companies said they had banned it. But that proved to be false, especially since many of the ingredients come from Asia now. Not only is there horse product in pet food, but also rendered cats and dogs from kill shelters. Read Ann Martin’s “Food Pets Die For” for an eye opener. Don’t buy pet food that says “meat meal.”

      There is a commercial dog food that is vegan and includes taurine, an essential amino acid for both cats (who need at least fish) and dogs (who can eat the same proteins as their vegan owners). Check your pet stores – it is high end.


      • Pet food purveyors never banned it or specifically said they banned equine meat. They switched to other remnant products when equines didn’t need to be slaughtered in the numbers they did and other meat producers (factory slaughter houses) had more by product than the HCHS/horse slaughter market did.

        In fact, there are some meat purveyors that still supply equine meat to buyers. In addition,
        fox hunters in the US feed their hounds with fallen, expired horses.

        Citations please.


  7. Cattle Drovers network has an interesting article this morning! Coal, cattle damaging to the environment! You should read it, the United Nations Study reveals that South America cattle are destroying the environment. I was so elated! This is what they have been suppressing in the US from coming out and have attacked every government agency saying that cattle are destroying the land and environment, so another continent comes out with their own study, take that! I am so sick of the wild horses taking the blame and domestic horses being called locusts and death dealers to the environment. Cattle are destructive, horribly damaging land which is why they need to keep leasing more and more land, its a known hazard to owning cattle, they eventually ruin the land their are kept in beyond capacity without land relief, which means the cattle need to be removed from the land for a period of up to 3 years to allow it to recover nutrionally and foliage wise. Which is why cattlemen always would drive herds to different locations for grazing to allow the other locations to grow, but with the changing weather patterns and they are depending on the cattle every year to keep them in cash so they refuse to allow the lands to recoup and do nothing with the manure which damages the soils.


    • Cattle don’t destroy the environment…the humans that own them do. We don’t have the problems of Western grazing in the East.

      BTW, NCBA, States and DOI/USDA say wild equines destroy the environment.

      Not hardly.


      • A lot of Western ranchers believe that horses are more damaging to the soil than cattle. I’ve heard that cattle are worse than horses in riparian areas. I know in our pastures, with the same population density, cattle do far more damage than the horses. At any rate, a good rotational grazing plan is actually beneficial to the land and wildlife.


  8. I feel like since Asia cant eat all our pets they will kill them off to hurt us! Sad but sometimes I get that impression, however, I know that not all Asians agree with eating all animals. But you get the gist


  9. Yes, I too believe we should be testing beef for horse meat in the US. I found a link in a comment, on another post, a few days ago to the Canadian Mean Council. I can’t seem to paste the link here but go to and in the “search” box at top of page type in “horse meat exports”. Scroll down that page to a graph which shows exports of horse meat to many countries for the years 2008-2012. The US is the 6th down on the list. While it’s possible (anything is possible) that it was all imported by private individuals, the graph shows the US imported horse meat from Canada to the tune of 785,978 kilos in 2012 alone. ( that translates to 1,729,151.6 lbs. of horse meat)


      • Janet – That’s my question too. For what? For whom? And it’s not 400,000 lbs, it’s 1,729,151 lbs. of Horse Meat!

        Oh and by the way it’s the Canadian Meat Council (not “mean” ooops)


    • Just creepy. I took the survey and lied all over the place – except to say I would NEVER eat horse. They bragged that it would soon be available in the US.

      Terra – please post the link all over the place. I would do it but my copy & paste function doesn’t cooperate with this laptop. Thanks.


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