The UK food industry has been rocked by a meat scandal. In some cases products labelled as containing 100% beef have instead contained pork or horse. One Dutch steakhouse boss has revealed that he has sold horse as beef for 63 years.
The recent horse-meat scandal in the UK has led many consumers to question just what they are eating. Horse-meat may be consumed across Europe but that is by choice, or so it seemed. Britons have almost always chosen not to eat horse-meat. That could still be their preference but false labelling means many Brits have unknowingly eaten horse-meat.
As the authorities investigate what has happened one steakhouse boss in Amsterdam, Loek van Thiel, admits that he has been selling horse fillets as beef for 63 years. Thiel owns the Piet de Leeuw steak-house.
Thursday Thiel insisted that the meat served at his cafe was South American beef. Friday after it was revealed samples of his meat had been tested he confessed it was in fact horse-meat.
A report published in Dutch News has attracted a wide range of comments. Most of the comments do not express surprise at the news. The consensus is that in the Netherlands horse is often substituted for beef. Some of those commenting believed that horse is a healthier option than beef and that "people need to stop being squeamish".
Of course the point is that selling horse labelled as beef is fraud. Health implications could arise if the horse had been injected with the EU banned substance "bute". Then there is customer choice. If you choose beef from the menu you should be served beef and not horse.
The Parpool tested meat samples from the Piet de Leeuw steak-house. This resulted in Thiel's change of story Friday.
He revealed that horse had been sold on the premises since his father took over in 1949. His father was a horse meat butcher.
Staff at the steakhouse were well aware of the use of horse but had contracts which prevented them revealing its use. On Friday their boss told Dutch News 'I've never considered saying 'horse steak' on the menus. People enjoyed their food, business was good, so why should I?"
Why indeed? A little matter of fraud perhaps.