Dr Oz: Horse Meat Scandal Spreads Across the Globe
Do you think it is possible for horse meat to work its way into your food? Dr. Oz wanted to know if it was possible because it happened in Europe and he believes it could happen here in the U.S. He also wondered how the U.S. is preventing it from happening.
Before he continued, he showed the timeline of events that brought light to the horse meat scandal in Europe.
- January – Packages labeled “100% beef” were found to contain 29 percent horse meat in Ireland.
- February – Just one month later the horse meat scandal had spread to 21 countries across Europe. Ten million hamburger patties and dozens of other mislabeled products containing horse meat were recalled. The horse meat continued spreading, from Russia to China and even to the Dominican Republic. In the end, the horse meat scandal was traced back to only a few suppliers.
So how did it spread across the globe and could it happen in America?
Dr Oz: USDA Inspects All Meat Processed and Labeled In the US
Patty Lovera, Assistant Director at Food & Water Watch, told Dr. Oz someone made the conscious decision to label the packages 100 percent beef when they actually contained horse meat. It was then supplied to countries across the world and added to highly processed foods.
Scott Heard, formerly of the U.S. Food Safety Department, told Dr. Oz there are steps being taken in the United States to prevent this type of fraud from happening here. He said a U.S.D.A. inspector examines all meat before it is allowed to be processed or labeled. He further explained that a U.S.D.A. inspector is present throughout the entire processing and labeling of all meat products.
Lovera believes we can “never say never” when it comes to our food system but she said her agency believes in the U.S.D.A.’s inspection process when it comes to meat products. She said it is important to have the government inspectors oversee the process rather than a company hired to do the work.
Dr Oz: Could Horse Be Added Willingly To America’s Food Supply?
Dr. Oz said some people in the audience were concerned about the potential of horse slaughterhouses existing in our country and he wanted to know if their fears were warranted. Dr. Oz said he knows two companies are fighting to make horse slaughterhouses a real thing, but Lovera explained that it becomes a cultural talking point about whether it is humane to add horse meat to our food supply. She said there are people who believe it can be done but these views are what led the U.S.D.A. to ending their inspections of horse slaughterhouses years ago.
Lovera told Dr. Oz she thinks it will become a political issue in the future and everyone needs to voice his or her opinion. Scott Heard added that the purpose of horse slaughterhouses in the past was to provide products to Europe, not for consumers in America.
Dr Oz: Food Safety Recommendation
Dr. Oz assured his audience that horse meat is perfectly good and safe for you to eat if it is safely processed, but he also believes consumers have the right to know what is in their food. If it says 100 percent beef, then it should contain 100 percent beef.