Horse meat scandal, government neglected public health

This video from the USA is called Horse Meat Found in Ikea Meatballs.

Translated from Algemeen Dagblad daily in the Netherlands:

Horse meat a danger to health indeed

By: editors

3 July 2013, 06:22

[Minister] Schippers ignored advice to warn people at risk

Horse meat from countries such as Romania does indeed constitute a danger to public health. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority had advised the government to warn ‘the public’ and ‘pregnant women, particularly at risk’ again. Minister Schippers (Health) and Junior Minister Dijksma (Economic Affairs) have ignored this advice.

At the height of the horse meat scandal, civil servants have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the risks to human health of the consumption of horse meat. This is evident from documents of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) which this newspaper basing itself on the Freedom of Information Act had requested.

Officials warned this spring about the dangers of imported meat from Bulgaria, Romania and other countries, because the dangerous parasites toxoplasma and trichinella are relatively frequent in it. ‘Meat of these horses, given the severity of the disease in humans, causes a significant risk to public health if it is consumed raw or undercooked”, as is stated in a document dated February 21.

The employees of the NVWA advocate ‘intensifying’ the monitoring of such horsemeat and to warn against it again. Schippers and Dijksma said that they did not need that extra warning because they assumed that the risks of consuming raw or undercooked meat are already known to the general public. “It does not matter whether it is horse meat, or any other type of meat,” the ministers said.


Earlier this year it was revealed that horse meat was used for products which were supposedly beef. On May 16, Schippers and Dijksma still said: “At this moment there are no concrete indications that there is a danger to public health.” This view was supposedly based on checks, which, according to experts, however, are very perfunctory in Romania. And in the Netherlands, the meat is hardly checked as well, because it is from an EU country.

The horse meat also made alarm bells sound because there may be remnants of the drug phenylbutazone in it. The [Dutch] government has always argued that this dangerous agent had not been found in the horse meat. The internal documents now show that the probability that the horse drug would be found was also very small, because there were hardly any checks for it.

14 thoughts on “Horse meat scandal, government neglected public health

  1. Most people don’t seem to know about the Toxo risk in lightly-cooked meat. Here’s some science about it by the world expert on this parasite JP didn’t write about horse meat there, but he reports finding little Toxo in beef. However since he wrote that review there’s been emerging evidence of Toxo in cattle too, hence in beef


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