The horse meat scandal currently assailing European nations, including the United Kingdom, has reached the United States and is now the hottest topic in the country. The issue is relevant to beef products found to contain horse meat, after series of tests were conducted.
Investigations proved to be monumental, from the manufacturers, suppliers, subcontractors and deliveries, due to its intricate and complicated procedures involving numerous business firms and countries.
Concerns, whether its consumption poses threat to people’s health, proved yet unfounded, as previously confirmed by the Food Standard Agency (FSA) in the UK.
UK’s PM David Cameron and the FSA agreed on tougher inspection system with the emphasis that the full extent of the law would be applied to those involved in the fraud.
Meanwhile, experts in the United States said it would be unlikely for horse meat to be consumed knowingly in the country.
According to Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, the undersecretary for food safety, said the Federal Meat Inspection Act in the U. S. mandates that a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector be present at all slaughterhouses to ensure that carcasses are not diseased, unclean or mislabeled. Its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) comprise of 9,800 employees overseeing 6,200 slaughterhouses nationwide, in a 2011 statement.
Since 2006 when Congress banned the use of taxpayers’ funds for horse inspections, the U.S. ceased slaughter of horse and sale of horse meat. Likewise, the importation of horse meat from other countries, and none of the companies or countries connected to the Europe scandal exports beef to the country”, a USDA spokesman told ABCNews.com recently.
William Hallman, the director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutger University said “No horse is being legally slaughtered for commerce right now, but it’s difficult to ascertain that it could never happen here”.
He added, “Largely, it’s not a food-safety issue. It’s just that people expected one thing and got another, which is culturally inappropriate for a lot of people”.
In the UK, a latest report confirmed that three men were arrested on suspicion of fraud related to the scandal, while 8 out of 203 horse carcasses intended for consumption contained phenylbutazone, or bute, a drug prohibited in the food chain, according to UK’s FSA on February 14th, Thursday.