The horsemeat scandal and American horses
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from

FROM Tuesday's Horse
October 2019

In 2013, the words “contamination” and “tainted” hardly covers the extent of the issue especially concerning the amount of horsesmeat found. Subsequent testing determined that the contaminated Comigel products sold by Aldi and others contained 30% to 100% horsemeat instead of beef.

Do you remember the horse meat scandal of 2013? I don’t think saying it sent shockwaves around the world is much of an overstatement. Horsemeat masquerading as beef!

But should it have been, really? Accurate and reliable food labeling has long, long been a problem in many countries.

Findus was front and center of many of the horsemeat scandal reports. But so was Aldi.

“Aldi (among other food vendors) had an issue back in February 2013 with a supplier who provided them with horsemeat-tainted products, but that issue has since been resolved and did not affect consumers in the U.S.”[1]

As the story unfolded, the horsemeat scandal that affected Aldi and other food vendors in Sweden, France and the UK reportedly stemmed from their unknowingly receiving horsemeat-tainted products from the supplier Comigel, who in turn blamed the problem on a subsupplier.

Comigel CEO Erick Lehagre told French news agency Agence France-Presse that his company had been “fooled” by a French supplier. “We were victims,” he said, according to AFP.


The words “contamination” and “tainted” hardly covers the extent of the issue especially concerning the amount of horsesmeat found. Subsequent testing determined that the contaminated Comigel products sold by Aldi and others contained 30% to 100% horsemeat instead of beef.

What About the U.S.?

In a 2015 Money Talks News article entitled, “Horse Meat Found in Other Ground Meat Sold in U.S.”, they reported:

“Research into the mislabeling of meats has uncovered horse meat mixed in with other ground meat sold in the U.S. commercial market.

“For a study of ground meat products sold in the U.S., researchers from the Food Science Program at Chapman University in California analyzed 48 samples and found that 10 were mislabeled.

“One sample was entirely mislabeled with regard to what type of animal meat it contained. Nine samples had meat from an additional type of animal mixed in. In two of those cases, the mix contained horse meat, which is illegal to sell in the U.S.”[2]

Where did the horsemeat come from and how did it get there? European countries aren’t the only ones with serious issues. We the public cannot really safely assume that any of this has been truly rectified and not going on right now, undetected.

Horsemeat Scandal Trial

The Guardian reporting on the horsemeat scandal trial in January 2019, states:

“The trial of four people accused of an elaborate fraud that tricked consumers into buying ready-made meals containing horsemeat instead of beef has opened in Paris.
An international scandal erupted in 2013 when the mislabelled food was discovered by the Irish authorities in frozen burgers labelled “pure beef”.

“A wider investigation found horsemeat in ready-made meals on sale in several high-street supermarkets in Britain and in pre-prepared dishes across Europe, including those used by hospital caterers and in school lunches.

“About 4.5m dishes – including lasagne, moussaka, chilli con carne and beefburgers made with horsemeat passed off as beef – were believed to have been distributed around 13 countries.[3]

13 countries!

Those in the dock were accused of:

“. . . having sold the meat as “boned beef” that had been cut and prepared in France, while allegedly knowing it was horsemeat that had been treated in Romania, Belgium or Canada.”[4]

The BBC reported:

“The four men are accused of helping organise the sale of more than 500 tonnes of horsemeat in 2012—2013 to a subsidiary of Comigel, a French company whose frozen meals were sold in more than a dozen European countries.”

Another “is also accused of selling more than 200 tonnes of horsemeat mainly in the form of beef merguez sausages.”[5]

The BBC also posted a handy timeline concerning the horsemeat scandal. Pay particular attention to 3.

Horsemeat Scandal Timeline

  • In mid-January 2013, Irish food inspectors said they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by UK supermarket chains
  • Up to 100% horsemeat was then found in several ranges of prepared frozen food in the UK, France and Sweden
  • There were concerns that a drug used to treat horses, and which may be harmful to humans, could have entered the food chain
  • Meat was traced from France through Cyprus and the Netherlands to Romanian abattoirs
    Investigations suggested the adulteration was not accidental, but the work of a criminal conspiracy

The third point is a highly important one. Up to this point little to nothing was said about the horsemeat potentially being contaminated because of the drug Bute, the drug they no doubt were referring to.

Guilty as Charged

On April, 16, 2016, reported:

“A Paris criminal court on Tuesday found four men guilty of falsely labeling horsemeat as beef, handing down fines and jail time for the role they played in a Europe-wide food-fraud scandal.

“The scandal resulted in millions of industrialized beef dishes being pulled from supermarket shelves after it was discovered that they contained horsemeat despite being labeled as beef. The scam involved importing cheap horsemeat from Belgium, Romania and Canada.”[6]

Tainted Horsemeat Remains

Meat from U.S. horses is tainted and will always be so. They are administered a laundry list of drugs which bar their meat from entering the human food chain.

Speaking of horsemeat entering the human food chain knowlingly and surreptitiously states:

“But six years after the horse meat scandal, the situation is still unsatisfactory and it is urgent that steps are taken to go much further.

“In theory, the traceability of food throughout the supply chain must be guaranteed. In reality, this is far from being the case.”

Horse Slaughter Ban

It is high time the U.S. takes the lead on this issue. It is time we take responsibility and stop being a chief supplier of toxic horsemeat dangerous for human consumption by banning the slaughter of our horses.

Pending U.S. Legislation

H.R. 961, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2019 (The SAFE Act)[8], when it becomes law, will ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption at home and across our borders.

Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about horse slaughter (is it right or is it wrong?) it is certainly the right thing morally and ethically to ban toxic U.S. horsemeat from entering the human food chain.

The passage of the SAFE Act is designed for and will accomplish this.


Contact your U.S. Representative today and ask him or her to cosponsor and vote H.R. 961 into law. GO HERE for more information.

Please make a donation to The Horse Fund, the publishers of Tuesday’s Horse, who are monitoring horse related bills like H.R.961 in Washington D.C., and lobbying hard for their passage. We have a tremendous opportunity this Congress to finally outlaw the slaughter of American horses. Let’s do it!

  4. See 3.

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