horse blue sky

For all those sitting back watching the horse meat scandal spread like fire across European countries thinking it couldn’t happen here in the US, consider this:

After weeks of adamant denials in the UK, Burger King finally fessed up and admitted they have been serving so called “beef” burgers containing horse meat to their British customers for nobody knows how long. A monster global chain, Burger King has zillions of restaurants around the world including just about every city and town in the USA.

After another global chain Aldi also announced between 30% to 100% horse meat had somehow found it’s way into their meat patties, lasagna and spaghetti bolognese, they banned the stuff from their stores in Ireland and the UK.  As it happens here in little old NY we also have an Aldi store not far from my apartment. In fact there are at least 1200 Aldis around our country. Their horse meat tainted products were sold under the Selfus brand. When I checked Aldi’s brand list here in America, Selfus was not listed either because all their products had already been removed from Aldis USA or they were never there in the first place.

Just because Burger King and Aldi are international corporations selling their food around the world, that doesn’t mean their products (including their dodgy horse meat meals) are interchangeable across borders. Different countries after all have different tastes, preferences, styles and ways of doing business. More universal foods, however, can easily jump borders with packaging altered to fit different country’s expectations.

One might be under the impression, given their experience and humungous budgets, these giant corporations conduct their business in highly streamlined ways no matter their location.  A quick glance at the available facts surrounding this horse meat scandal in Europe however instantly dispels that quaint notion.

The complex journey of the horse meat adulterated food is difficult to follow (on purpose?) and highly unsettling. According to Financial Times (paywall link): “The Findus products revealed to contain horsemeat … came from a Comigel factory in Luxembourg. Comigel in turn was supplied with meat from a company in southwestern France called Spanghero, whose parent [company] is called Poujol.” Benoît Hamon, France’s consumer affairs minister, said “that Poujol ‘acquired the frozen meat from a Cypriot trader, which had sub-contracted the order to a trader in the Netherlands. The latter was supplied from an abbatoir and butcher located in Romania.’”

If this isn’t a recipe for food disaster somewhere along the line, what is? And with a tangled difficult to trace trail like that, tacking the US onto this kind of shadowy, convoluted chain of horse meat manipulation wouldn’t be any more surprising than the rest of the story.

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