For most UK consumers, eating horse is, culturally, a non-starter. But some have indeed started to explore what all the fuss is about by searching it out.
There’s even a piece in the NZ Guild of Food Writers’ latest newsletter about the issue, which notes that horsemeat eating stemmed, in most cases, at times when other sources of meat dried up. However, it comes out in favour of eating good quality horsemeat: “often very tender and despite being the reddest of red meats, it has a mild flavour, not unlike farmed venison,” the writer says.
“As the world grows hungrier and the luxury of waste loses all viability, will we still be so precious?” the article asks.
Throughout, it has been continually stressed by all authorities there is no danger from eating healthy, fresh horsemeat.
Other UK scientists are actually also suggesting that the horsemeat has probably improved the quality of the products. Dr Emma Roe, lecturer in human geography at the University of Southampton says she was not surprised at the processed meat products that were found to contain horsemeat.
“There is a commercial logic to utilising the least-favoured parts of the animal carcase in processed meat products, adding fat and salt to make them edible. The horsemeat saga suggests that there is a shortage of products at a price suitable for value-range processed meat products, despite the need to find a commercial home for all the parts of the beef carcase,” say says, suggesting that the lack of market for horsemeat in the UK may mean that it is a higher quality horsemeat (rather than the meat that normally ends up in processed meat products from a beef carcase). “Who knows?” she asks.
The one good thing to come out of the scandal may be that the ‘pushed under the carpet’ trade in horsemeat is likely to be cleaned up and regulated, benefiting not only consumers but also the animals.