The laboratory exposes cheats

The laboratory exposes cheats

The latest scandal about falsely declared foodstuffs containing horse meat is also occupying the max rubner institute (MRI). The federal research institute investigates the safety and quality of meat at the kulmbach site. In principle, there's nothing wrong with eating horse meat, says institute director klaus troeger, but consumers must not be misled: "where it says beef on the label, it must not say horse on the inside."

As a consumer, can you tell the difference between horse meat and beef??
Klaus troeger: horse meat is similar to beef in composition and appearance, but there are some differences: it is redder, leaner and suber than beef.

How does it differ nutritionally from other meats??
The muscle meat of the horse contains more of the red meat blood pigment myoglobin and therefore also more iron. It is not marbled, that is, it is not streaked with fatty veins, as is the case with beef. This makes it 20 to 30 percent lower in calories. The composition of fat in horse is even more nutritionally favorable: horse meat contains significantly less saturated and more unsaturated fatty acids than beef.

Is it therefore basically a valuable food??
In any case. Horsemeat is absolutely suitable for human consumption – if the legal regulations are complied with and it does not contain any drug residues.

Who controls it?
This is the task of the state office for health and food safety in erlangen, germany.

Why is horse meat rarely on sale, despite its superiority??
horses were never kept for meat production in our country. For one thing, they are relatively poor feed converters, which means you have to feed them about one-third more grass than cattle to get the same amount of meat. Secondly, horses were bred and used for war work and for riding. That's why there were even church and state bans on food consumption.

What is its value in germany today??
Even without a ban, the acceptance of horse meat in our country is low. Around 11,000 horses are slaughtered each year. This corresponds to a gross weight of 3000 tons. Statistically, this means that just 40 grams are consumed annually by every bundesburger – including skin and bones.

How to get on the trail of cheats?
We can use the so-called tetraplex test in the laboratory to detect the animal-specific DNA and thus the type of meat used in cattle, pigs, horses and sheep.

How reliable are such tests?
The results are very accurate. Even if a sample contains only 0.1 percent horse meat, it can be detected.

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