Beef to the rich, horsemeat to the poor? “We can’t just throw away good food” – Germany’s Minister

Feb 24, 2013 00:36 Moscow Time

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Photo: EPA

Horsemeat-tainted food should be given to the poor, Germany’s development minister Dirk Niebel suggested. The opposition dismissed the idea as absurd, but a priest said it should be considered, although horsemeat may contain drug phenylbutazone which may be harmful to people’s health. Traces of horse DNA have been found in six tonnes of minced beef and 2,400 packs of lasagne bolognese seized from a company in Italy.

German Minister Niebel said there were 800 million people in the world who were hungry. “Even in Germany, unfortunately there are people for whom it is financially tight, even for food. I think that we can’t just throw away good food here in Germany.”

The opposition has dismissed the idea and called it “absurd” and an insult to poor people, but Prelate Bernhard Felmberg, the senior representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany, has backed the proposal. “We as a Church find the throw-away mentality in our society concerning. How and whether to distribute the products in question would have to be examined,” the priest said. “But to throw away food that could be consumed without risk is equally bad as false labelling and cannot be a solution.” Without risk?

To make the story even more scary, France’s agriculture ministry said several horse carcasses containing the drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, had probably entered the human food chain in Europe.

Phenylbutazone, often referred to as bute, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the short-term treatment of pain and fever in animals. In such countries as the United States and United Kingdom, it is no longer approved for human use, as it can cause severe adverse effects such as suppression of white blood cell production and aplastic anemia.

On Friday evening, Germany’s consumer affairs ministry announced that it had now found traces of horse DNA in 67 of 830 food products tested.

BBC, Wikipedia


Categories: Societal

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