Tuesday Afternoon…Eating a horse with no name.

animal,illustration,monkey,graphic,design,stamp-c337804f9edf7d8fbf14f95bdc3ec9af_hLater today, the new power cord for my laptop should be delivered.  I hope the damn thing works.

Good Afternoon,

…my thoughts are a bit off this afternoon, almost like I’m in a Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness state of mind. Sometimes it’s difficult enough to get my thoughts organized in some kind of rational order. But today it is random and ridiculous…

Tonight is the STFU speech…oops, I mean SOTU speech. (Eh, innit the same thing?)  We will be live blogging it here, so if you are around, be sure to stop by.

Just one story for you this afternoon, and it deals with the horse meat scandal over in Great Britain. Yup, you know what I am talking about!

“Ground beef” with a touch of Mr. Ed. From the same folks who brought you Mad Cow disease…there is now “beef” being sold in England and Europe that contain horse meat.

I’m not sure we have mentioned the horsemeat scandal here on the blog, but if you have been living in a barn for the past few weeks… here is a quick review of what happening in, on and around the burger scene across the pond.

A food safety group did some investigating and found horse DNA in some cheap burger meat being sold in supermarkets in the UK and Ireland.

It did not stop there, looks like Burger Kings in Great Britain also sold the Trigger burgers, since their meat supplier was the same company who supplied the supermarkets.

Testing has revealed some Findus beef lasagne  readymeals may have contained up to 100% horsemeatThen…Hi Ho, what d’ya know… Silver found himself in other “beef” products, like frozen lasagna dinners from a company called Findus. (Now, with a name like Findus….it has to be good…cough, cough.) As with Burger King, Findus Brand frozen dinner’s “beef” was also supplied by the same smeat factory. (Smeat btw is not a typo.)

The company bringing Seabiscuit to tables across Britain and the Continent of Europe is called Tesco.  You can see Tesco’s technical director dude in the hot seat, responding to the horse DNA found in its “Trojan” beef products. View the video here:

Tesco’s technical director, Tim Smith, says his company does not yet know how many products containing horsemeat have been sold in their shops, and an investigation is under way into how it happened. Samples from one of Tesco’s burger lines contained 29% horsemeat relative to beef content. Traces of horsemeat have also been found in food products sold by Iceland, Lidl and Aldi.

Watching that man and his expressions reminds me of that SNL skit with Martin Short playing Nathan Thurm, the smoking sleazeball lawyer…

You need to see this skit, if you don’t see the video embedded below, so be sure to watch Saturday Night Live: 60 Minutes online at this link.

Minkman Toys pushes 60 Minutes to investigate fraud in the novelty item business.

60 Minutes

Mike Wallace…..Harry Shearer
Herb Minkman…..Christopher Guest
Al Minkman…..Billy Crystal
Nathan Thurm…..Martin Short

Damn, I got distracted…can’t help it, that is a great skit! Funny as hell!

Okay, where was I?

Oh yeah, the horse meat.

Today some new light has been shed on the scandal:

The Guardian: Horsemeat scandal blamed on European meat regulation changes

The UK’s horsemeat scandal was in “large part” the result of a switch from UK to foreign meat suppliers in 2012 caused by an abrupt change in European regulation that the government failed to contest, according to the expert who led the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) surveillance programme for a decade.

The change meant that “desinewed meat” (DSM), a fine mince rubbed under pressure from carcasses, could no longer be called meat on packaging. DSM produced in the UK was the main ingredient in most value-range burgers, sausages, pies and kebabs and the change meant that thousands of tonnes of meat had to be sourced from elsewhere and at low cost.

BBC News: EU ban on UK mince made suppliers vulnerable to horse meat

A former senior scientist at the Food Standards Agency says an EU decision to reclassify a type of mincemeat widely used in the UK played a significant part in creating the horsemeat crisis.

Desinewed meat was a key ingredient in value items such as pies, lasagnes and other beef products.

Dr Mark Woolfe said the decision to ban it prompted producers to go outside the UK to source supplies of cheap mince.

He also raised the possibility that UK lamb products might need testing for horsemeat.

Until 2009 Dr Woolfe was the head of authenticity at the Food Standards Agency. He says the root cause of the current horse meat crisis can be traced back to a decision taken by the European Commission less than 12 months ago to ban a key food ingredient called desinewed meat.

Under pressure

This material was introduced in the the UK in the 1990s as a replacement for mechanically recovered meat (MRM). Sometimes called “pink slime” MRM was formed by removing residual meat from animal bones using high pressure water.

It was linked to the spread of the human form of mad cow disease and the UK government took steps to restrict it from the food chain.

Desinewed meat (DSM) was developed as a higher quality form of recovered meat. It was produced using low pressure, retained some structure and was regarded as a meat ingredient on value products.

Yup, and y’all know who buys value products. Poor or low income people.

Nuff said.

Check out these headlines, some of which are a pun filled laugh:

BBC has a couple of articles, their coverage is not as intense:

Horsemeat scandal widens across EU
Beef products ‘pose no health risk’

But, The Guardian has reported a lot on the scandal:

Tesco says some of its value spaghetti bolognese contains 60% horsemeat

Eating horsemeat: what are the steaks?

Horsemeat scandal: ‘immediate testing will be done’ in schools, hospitals and prisons, says environment secretary – video

Contaminated horsemeat could harm health, warns environment secretary
Horsemeat scandal exposes the cheap food imperative

The Independent is also reporting that beef may not be the only product containing horse meat….or, carne con caballo ala Flicka:

Horsemeat scandal: Chicken and pork products may also be contaminated warns FSA, as Tesco admits Every Day Value Spaghetti Bolognese contains up to 100% horsemeat

‘Yes we sold horse – but it was labelled correctly': French suspicious over abattoir linked to Romanian minister

Galloping into controversy over Findus

Horsemeat: Regulation doesn’t taste so bad now, does it?

Big business is bad news for good food – and horse meat may be the least of our problems

From horse to lasagne: Findus, supply chains, and why buying local is the answer in an ideal world only

Damn, what a mess! However, I do love the puns in some of those headlines…the Brits have a great sense of humor.

This is an open thread…