Are You Eating Horse Meat?

Officials doubt it, but horse-meat tests are flying off shelves

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 23, 2013 2:57 PM CST

(Newser) – With Nestle stung by the horse-meat scandal, you may wonder whether unwanted cheval has reached your dinner table. Federal US regulators say it's unlikely, because domestic suppliers don't slaughter horses and Washington doesn't allow imported beef from European countries affected by the scandal, reports NBC News. That said, a Florida supplier of horse-meat tests has been swamped by nearly 1,000 orders—including some from big US meat producers.

Behind this lies America's little-known taste for horse meat. Nearly 20 slaughterhouses once produced it, and three were still operating when Congress, spurred by anti-slaughter activists, effectively outlawed it by nixing funds for USDA inspections. But the Obama administration quietly let it resume, in part due to poor treatment of horses. "There are plenty of people in America who have no problem with cheval and are anxiously awaiting our product," says a Wyoming state rep. Another angle on the story: A German lawmaker says food tainted with horse meat should be given to the poor, and an evangelical priest is backing him up, reports the BBC.

In this Feb. 11, 2013 file photo, a customer takes a pack of frozen beef Hachis Parmentier from a freezer in a supermarket in Nice, southeastern France.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
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