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Mystery meat — it’s what’s for dinner

There is a systematic lack of quality control and accountability that threatens everyone’s health

Gulf News

A horse is a horse of course — except when it has been intentionally mislabelled as beef.

The recent horse-meat scandal nagging Europe is not a question of whether horse meat is an unacceptable substitute for beef in lasagne. The concern is how unregulated mystery-meats are able to enter our food supply. In the case of horses, these animals may have been treated with numerous antibiotics or other medicines that could be unhealthy for human consumption. We do not know what diseases they had or why they died.

That this scandal has spread so far across Europe and resulted in so much finger-pointing and counter accusations is unsettling. It indicates a systematic lack of quality control and accountability that threaten everyone’s health and shows no regard for consumers’ dietary concerns or beliefs. Fortunately, the meat in question did not cause more harm. The shock and indignity that politicians are showing now will likely be blunted by company’s claims that they should not be financially burdened with additional regulations because “ultimately, no one was hurt”.

The authorities concerned in the UAE should conduct tests to make sure there is no mislabelling — regardless of whether it was done accidentally or intentionally — to ensure that the meat in local stores is safe. If these tests have already been conducted, then the public should be informed. We deserve to know what we are putting in our mouths and if it is safe.