Just say neigh... the sizzling debate over horse in burgers
IT'S not often that Johnny Pusztai gets asked about horse.
It's even less often he gets asked how he would go about butchering one.
"I don't imagine it would be too difficult – it's just like other animals that we deal with on a day-to-day basis", said the award-winning owner of butcher JT Beedham and Sons, in Sherwood.
"Horse" is the word on everyone's lips at the moment after an investigation found traces of the meat in supermarket burgers.
But Mr Pusztai believes horse could soon be hitting our plates.
He said: "We've already seen places selling goat, and horse isn't all that bad really – it's a cheaper meat and I can't see why people won't be eating it in years to come.
"Only a handful of people have come in asking for horse before, but if more people did, then we would have to look at learning how to do it properly.
"You would still get the same kind of cuts that you get with pork and beef – sirloin, fillet, topside and the rest.
"I have eaten horse before and it's not all that bad – I mean, people have this idea that horse isn't good to eat and that it's wrong, but if you eat venison, you're eating Bambi. Is horse really any worse?"
An investigation by the Food Standards Agency is to be launched into how horse meat was found in beefburgers.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "People in our country will have been very concerned to read that while they thought they were buying beef burgers, they were buying something that had horse meat in it."
Jemma Cox, 29, of Lady Bay, has owned a Norwegian Fjord horse called Oslo for 14 years.
She said: "I wouldn't choose to eat horse but I do think that people should be able to know what goes in burgers. I was shocked when I heard the news but only because you didn't think burgers would contain horse. "
Jennifer Robinson, 25, of Edwalton, said she was upset when she heard the news.
Mrs Robinson, who owns ten-year-old horse Buffy and its foal Phoebe, said: "I just think it's horrible. I love horses and, as a horse owner, I would not choose to eat horse meat.
"So if I had eaten a burger I thought was beef but was actually horse, I would be upset."
Melissa Gueneau, 25, is originally from Clairac in south-west France but now lives in Nottingham.
She said: "People's reaction to having horse meat in their burgers isn't surprising given the context that they were expecting it not to be there.
"But what is surprising is that people are that adverse to eating horse meat.
"It's true that French people are more adventurous when it comes to meat and horse is available in supermarkets, but I have only eaten horse once.
"It was like other red meat really, just a bit more tough.
"For most people, a horse is no more special than other animals that people eat, so I suppose I am surprised people are so shocked at the fact they may have eaten horse."
The food company that supplied the food to British and Irish supermarkets, ABP Foods, has apologised.
"We are shocked by the result of these tests and are at a loss to explain why one test showed 29 per cent equine DNA, " it said."ABP Food Group companies have never knowingly bought, handled or supplied equine meat products and we acknowledge the understandable concern created as a result of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland's DNA frozen beef burger test results.
"This issue only affects frozen beef burgers supplied by Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak Hambleton, and while there is no food safety issue, a full withdrawal was implemented."
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