Horse Meat Scandal Widens to 16 Countries
As officials struggle to trace contaminated meat
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2013 11:39 AM CST
Beef burgers purchased in Ireland are shown, following an outcry over the revelation that some burgers made in the republic and on sale in British supermarkets contain a large proportion of horse meat.   (AP Photo/Niall Carson/PA)

(Newser) – The horse meat contamination scandal grossing out Europe and the UK has now reached as many as 16 countries, the BBC reports. Officials continue to investigate the problem and trace the meat involved, but the food industry's complex supply chains are complicating matters. The AP describes "a maze of trading between meat wholesalers," making the origins of the meat difficult to trace.

The investigation so far suggests a criminal conspiracy, officials have said—the horse meat did not accidentally end up in so-called beef products, but was intentionally used as a cheaper replacement for beef. Someone involved in the food supply chain benefitted from then selling the cheaper product as beef. "There are people who are out there to defraud, who are looking to cheat," says one French official; another calls the fraud "abominable" and urges "tough punishments."

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Feb 12, 2013 9:03 AM CST
Why is outrage! And why is it called contamination? Dead carcasses are dead carcasses. My dog would not consider eating this, she prefers her veggie burgers with carrots and other good stuff.
Feb 11, 2013 4:02 PM CST
If you think that horse meat is gross, consider where eggs come from.
Feb 11, 2013 3:37 PM CST
During WWII horse meat was sold in many U.S. markets and it was not rationed, but it was labeled as horse meat and met the same food standards as beef. In this case the fact that it's source is unknown and seems to be untraceable is really scary. Horses don't seem to get spongeform encephalopathy but they do get other diseases and how they died is still unknown. The penalty for this offense should be particularly severe and I hope the Europeans solve this problem.