Regrettably, the end is not yet in sight for the European horse meat scandal. DNA testing has revealed the mislabeled meat has been sold as beef in numerous EU countries. “Burgergate,” as it has become known in some circles, continues to draw unwanted press globally.
Carol G. Williams, in a recent article from the Los Angeles Times, discusses that the effects are sending some shockwaves in the EU: “the short-term consequences of the horse meat ruse for Europe’s food industries are already being felt. An online poll conducted Feb. 14-15 by Consumer Intelligence of Britain found that nearly 1 in 4 of the 2,200 respondents said they were consuming less meat. And 65% said they now mistrust food labels, Reuters news agency reported.”
Beyond consumer confidence, health concerns have entered the fray due to the presence of phenylbutazone in the meat, a pain killer for horses. Both EU-specific countries and international operations like IKEA have been pulled into the controversy. IKEA’s meatballs were found to contain horse meat in several European countries. The company stated that the North American market was not affected.
Of course, to some consumers the connection might feel a little closer to home with recognizable companies like IKEA being in the headlines. For stakeholders in the food industry, should there be concerns about consumer perception? We would like to extend the conversation this week. How can the government, the industry, and academia answer to fears about food safety issues not only here but also issues abroad…to reassure the American public?