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Horsemeat, now donkey - what next?

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 02:32

Feb. 28 - The meat scandal spreads to South Africa as donkey, water buffalo and goat is found in sausages and burgers, raising questions about where next and when will this scandal end? Hayley Platt reports.

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They're traditionally made from pork, bacon, ham and even chicken. But definitely not donkey. It's the latest twist in the meat scandal that's gripping Europe and has now spread to South Africa. Traces of donkey, water buffalo and goat have been found in burgers and sausages. Butcher Riaan Ferreira says the revelations come as no surprise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BUTCHER RIAAN FERREIRA, SAYING: "You can pick up the phone any day and you get offered whatever from water buffalo, to goat, to elephant, to whatever from zebra even. Every day. You get it offered on the telephone. And the problem is, it's so much cheaper than beef that guys are putting it in their products to maximize profit at the end of the day." The University of Stellenbosch tested 139 different meat products. Two thirds contained items not listed as ingredients. They included soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo. Louw Hoffman is co-author of the study. SOUNDBITE: Louw Hoffman, co-author of Scientific Study into DNA Content of South African Meat, Stellenbosch University, saying (English): "There are no abattoirs registered to slaughter donkey. However, the function of a registered abattoir is that government has health inspectors there that ensure the meat is safe that enters the food chain and the implication of this would be that that donkey came in via the back door as it was and may have contained a disease, and that is what is worrying about the donkey." The horsemeat scandal has hit Europe's food industry hard. Retailers have pulled millions of processed meat products from their shelves after discovering horsemeat. Hotels, restaurants and pubs have also been affected. Many experts blame the consumer's preference for cheap food and intense supermarket competition. Tim Lang is Professor of Food Security at London's City University. SOUNDBITE: Tim Lang, Professor of Food Security, saying (English): "When you get a mass industrial food system you get opportunities for this. When you couple that mass nature with the meat industry which is literally a bloody industry you get the possibilities for fraud and when you get expensive meat commodities like beef their is always a temptation to undercut and when you couple that with the pressure to produce mass food cheaply the incentive to substitute expensive sounding meat with cheaper ones is considerable." The horsemeat scandal has already cost millions. And with retailers like Ikea now implicated - it's found horse in meatballs and reportedly hot dogs - many believe it could become a global issue.

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Horsemeat, now donkey - what next?

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 02:32

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