Canadian beef industry free of horse DNA, researchers find

Canadians who are skittish that they may be inadvertently ingesting horse meat can rest easy. It appears our meat industry can still tell the difference between equine and bovine.

Global News reports that scientist at the University of Guelph tested hamburger patties at fast food restaurants and at grocery stores and found absolutely no traces of horse DNA within the meat.

“This testing is something all Canadians should be proud of — knowing the hamburger meat they are buying is beef with no substitutes detected or additions,” lead researcher Paul Hebert said, according to Global.

For those wondering why such a thing would be questioned in the first place, may we direct your attention to Europe?

[ Related: Burger King admits burgers contained traces of horse meat ]

The issue has grown into an international scandal overseas after traces of horse meat were found in various “beef” burgers sold in Ireland and England. It has since expanded to popular brands of spaghetti bolognese, which was found to contain 60 per cent horse meat. France has also been drawn into the debate.

It has gotten so bad that the Independent reports that meat found to contain contraband traces of horse DNA meat may actually contain donkey.

[ Related: What Does Horse Meat Taste Like? ]

The newspaper reports that a new Romanian law banning horses and donkeys from roadways could be behind an influx of business for European abattoirs. Business Insider refers to the culprits as the Romanian “horse mafia,” suggesting they are taking advantage of excess pet and sport horses abandoned during the economic crisis.

Business Insider writes:

An abundance of horses that were now too expensive to maintain meant there was an influx of horse meat into the European market — and it didn't take long for someone to work out that the meat could be repackaged as beef for a higher price.

Lawsuits and investigations are being launched across the region, while here at home it seems we can rest easy.

You won’t be eating any horse meat; unless you want to.

The Globe and Mail reported last year that there are six licensed horse abattoirs in Canada which exports almost their entire line to Asia and Europe, save for “a small domestic market for the product in Quebec.”

No judgements here. But if I'm about to eat horse, I want to know about it first.