Eaten in Britain until the 1930s - but horsemeat has fallen out of favour
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Wednesday 16 January 2013
Horsemeat was eaten in Britain until the 1930s but has remained firmly off the menu ever since - despite the entreaties of Gordon Ramsay.
Five years ago, the French-trained chef said: "I've eaten horse", before extolling its virtues as a nutritious meat packed with protein, iron and Omega 3 fatty acids.
For his TV show, Janet Street-Porter, the Independent on Sunday columnist, barbecued horse at Cheltenham racecourse and dished it up to surprised punters.
She said: "In a world of mad cows, we should be opening our eyes to new types of red meat.”
The British have resolutely stuck to the carnivorous quartet of chicken, beef, lamb and pork.
No British supermarket chain stocks horse (intentionally, at least), perhaps because of the likely response from animal lovers, and only a few restaurants, such as L’escargot Bleu in Edinburgh, serve "viande chevaline". Exoticmeats.co.uk sells horse fillets and burgers alongside alpaca and zebra.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a people with a passion for racing, the Irish share Britons’ cultural aversion to horse flesh.
Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the country’s Food Safety Authority, which is investigating the current incident, said: "In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horse meat and therefore we do not expect to find it in a burger.”
Gaynor Bussell, an independent dietitian, pointed out there that there was no nutritional or food safety reason against cooking horse (which has only half the fat of beef), but added: “People find eating some meats unacceptable.”
On the Continent, the French, Belgians and Italians have no such reservations and some 200,000 horses are slaughtered for meat annually in Europe, half in Italy. France, Spain and the Netherlands also have substantial abattoir throughputs.
Animal welfare groups Peta and Humane Society International used the contamination to campaign against all meat-eating.
HSI’s EU director, Dr Joanna Swabe, said: “Here in the UK the consumption of horsemeat causes extreme disquiet, but perhaps consumers [should] think about their food choices and the suffering of all animals reared for human consumption.”
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...