February 18, 2013
Would you rather unknowingly eat a horse or a donkey? In a truly bizarre mix-up, it turns out that the mystery meat in UK Burger King burgers, which I have pointed out is actually not the worst thing you need to worry about in their burgers, may actually be sourced from donkeys.
In case you are not up to date on this scenario, it was originally admitted by Burger King that its burgers did contain mystery meat (that at the time was identified as horsemeat) just hours after claiming that their UK burgers were pure. The exact statement confirming the horsemeat in the burgers from the Burger King rep, or what was thought to be horsemeat at this point, was:
“Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA… we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.”
As it turns out, the admission means that either Burger King has no idea what’s in it’s own food, or in a more sinister scenario does not care about what consumers think and instead is interested in securing profits without causing a stir (or lawsuits). The report originally appeared in The Guardian, which developed as the night went on.
A new report in The Independent, however, asserts that the meat may in fact be donkey meat — a prospect that I am not entirely sure is more concerning or equally as concerning. This is due to a recent law change in Romania that virtually no one would initially piece together as being responsible for mystery meat inside Burger King Whoppers. As it turns out, though, Romania recently banned a very common form of transportation which included horse-drawn carts. As a result of the ban, struggling citizens therefore sent their horses to be slaughtered for the fraudulent sale of horsemeat that has permeated the European beef market.
But what about the donkeys? Well, it turns out that they also used donkeys to pull their carts as well. According to the vice-president of the European Parliament agriculture committee Jose Bove, it has affected millions of animals — donkeys and horses alike:
“Horses have been banned from Romanian roads and millions of animals have been sent to the slaughterhouse…”
This is where it gets to be an entirely new story. Millions of animals were culled in order to produce meat, which then leaked into the beef supply, and now no one knows what some of the meats produced by some European facilities really are. French officials began to take the issue seriously as well after it started hitting the news, and French consumer minister Benoît Hamon is now going after European meat corporations. In fact, it may escalate to serious legal action if it turns out that these companies are fully aware of the horse and donkey meat that they may be selling off as beef.
Whether or not you find it disturbing that you may be eating horse or donkey in your burger, it also comes down to a matter of knowing what’s in your food. It comes as no surprise to many of us who are aware of just how mysterious fast food is as a whole, but the existence of horse or donkey meat inside Burger King burgers (and other burgers even available in supermarkets) means that consumers really don’t know what they’re putting into their mouths when they purchase these items. This, regardless of what you think about eating these animals, is of serious concern and risk.
Anthony’s article first appeared on NaturalSociety.com.