Horse lasagne

Findus, one of the most popular brands of frozen foods, has withdrawn 180,000 lasagnes from sale after carrying out tests on meals from a French supplier that had raised concerns.

The frozen food company found that 11 out of 18 ready meals, which were advertised as containing 100 per cent beef, were actually between 60 per cent and 100 per cent horse meat. The lasagne was sold by Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Not that it would make much difference given the paltry amount of meat in such offerings.

But what does puzzle me is something I\’ve mentioned before. Horse meat oxidises almost as soon as it has been ground. Thus, traditionally at least, mince is the place where you would least expect to find it.

How have they been getting around this problem?

27 comments on “Horse lasagne

  1. Possibly the same way that they cover up dodgy steaks?

    A good steak is darkish on the outside, but beautifully red on the inside.

    Dodgy stuff can be red on the outside by grey and horrid when you cut into it. I think they use citric acid or somesuch.

  2. Have you got a reference for that Tim?

    I suppose that in the countries where horsemeat is popular, they’ve experimented with breeding, age of slaughter, and diet to reduce the problem. And probably there are antioxidants you can treat the meat with. Keeping the meat out of the light might help too.

  3. So far we’ve just heard about horse meat.

    I am waiting to hear about donkey meat. The reaction might be different.

    Can they tell the difference between horse and donkey or are they too closely related?

  4. Can’t say I’ve a pack of said lasagne to check, but in the very tiny print shows the list of ingredients isn’t ‘anti-oxidisers’ usually listed? Now we know what an anti-oxidiser’s does.

  5. If the processed food producers are covering up the horse meat then they must be in on the scam. This isn’t then about a few rogue meat packers, it’s a conspiracy to defraud.

    Personally, I don’t believe in a conspiracy. Findus, Tesco, et. al. have too much to loose. Probably the meat is so adulterated with preservatives that it doesn’t matter if the meat is beef, horse or rat! It will all come out, and taste, the same.

  6. Supermarket groups use their buying power to screw down prices to cost of below.

    What are manufacturers likely to do?

  7. The beef colour is, I’m pretty sure, a consequence of the myoglobin oxidation status. Vacuum-packed beef tends to be quite dark on the surface due to lack of available oxygen but goes red quite quickly when exposed to air – yes that even applies to proper “dry-cure”, hung on the bone for 3 weeks beef. I’d be very suspicious of a dusky steak that is sitting in the butcher’s window.

  8. Good point Luis.

    Put stickers on the boxes, “May contain horse” and knock it out in Aldi.

    Or serve it up to Muslims inmates in the prisons, having made sure there is no pork in it natch.

    Suggest that, for the future, premium brands might carry the assurance, “No added Shergar”.

  9. So we’ve proved that huge numbers of people are perfectly alright eating horse, taboos aside.

    Excellent. Bring it on.

  10. Diogenes
    Nor is selling horse as beef. It was only a thought anyway, answering TW’s question.

    Not as bad as the ‘pink slime’ stuff with ammonium hydroxide. Yum!

  11. Does the discolouring matter in prepared foods though? If you’re selling the raw mince in trays then yes, the discolouration could be off-putting. But once it’s cooked (and part of a tomato sauce as well) would it be a problem? Would you even be able to tell?

  12. Tell you what though. I’m quite surprised that Findus Lasagna has been found to have any real meat in it at all.

  13. James V has it right. All meat, not just horse, oxidises on contact with air. Grinding or mincing it simply increase the surface area and speeds up the process. The jury is out on whether this affects the taste.

  14. alastair & Richard –

    The commenter known as Arnald is actually a left-leaning performance art collective. Their “art” consists most in posting incoherent and insulting comments on liberal/libertarian blogs. Occasionally, however, one the Arnalds – one of the more articulate and literate ones – succumbs to the desire to post a comment that is coherent.

    Either that or Arnald occasionally remembers to take his medication.

  15. bloke in spain // Feb 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    (Trumpet fanfare, roll of drums, clash of cymbals)

    Arnald is in the fast food industry!
    ———–

    Jesus wept!
    I initially misread that. I thought you were telling us that Arnald is in the fast food.

    …. Actually now someone has started using his username to post sensible comments, I’m beginning to feel a sense of dark foreboding. I think I’ll stick to vegetarian stuff for the next few months.

  16. but but but…Findus lasagna is basically a mix of soya, quorn and beef-flavouring. The meat content is probably less than 1%. So let’s all get offended.

  17. Note that the only thing they did wrong here was advertise it as beef. Nothing wrong with horse. I’ve eaten plenty of kangaroo (a really good option if you can get hold of some, lean and gamey like venison), had emu, camel, goat, crocodile. I’ve never eaten dog, but if I go traveling in SE Asia I won’t be turning it down.

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