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United Kingdom Science

How Much Beef Is In Your Burger? 709

dgharmon writes in with an interesting article about how much (or how little) beef is in a UK burger. "The presence of horsemeat in value beefburgers has caused a furore. But what is usually in the patties? It has been a sobering week for fans of the beefburger. Tesco have used full-page adverts in national newspapers to apologize for selling burgers in the UK that were found to contain 29% horsemeat. Traces of horse DNA were also detected by the Food Standards Agency of Ireland in products sold by Iceland, Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes. But a beefburger rarely contains 100% beef."
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How Much Beef Is In Your Burger?

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  • Go Vegan (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:19PM (#42641617)

    And you don't have to worry about any of this BS.

  • A European problem? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Camaro ( 13996 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:21PM (#42641625)

    While I don't have numbers at hand, it is my understanding that there are very few horse slaughter facilities in North America. There is a certain horse culture that are very opposed to seeing any horse slaughtered, even for food.

  • Re:Actually (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:29PM (#42641691) Homepage

    Unless you get a horse that has been in the US racing circuit and has been fed steroids, antibiotics and bog knows what for most of it's life. I'd bet that the horsemeat in the British burgers was never tested for same.

  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:45PM (#42641835) Homepage
    A rather seldom source of meat, that US racing horse :)
    Most horse meat in the EU is from places like Poland and Romania where horses are still in use for (farm)work.

    Personally I find it rather a repulsive waste of resources to leave a horse to die of old age and send the carcass to destruction instead of having it humanely killed by the butcher.

  • Re:Well no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anubi ( 640541 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:58PM (#42641963) Journal
    You might be close.

    When I inquired as to why a local fast food restaurant was selling "shakes", not "milkshakes", I found out that they could not sell them as "milk" shakes because there was not enough milk in them. They were selling sweetened sawdust ( aka "cellulose" ).

    OK. It tastes good. Not all that good for you, just sugar and indigestibles, no nutritive content at all from what I can tell. But pleasurable to ingest. OK, at least I know what it is and make my decisions accordingly.

    ( incidentally, their coffee is made with some topping which is completely indigestible to me. I found out during a bout of flu. It all came out, processed, but untouched. Lots of it. I think it was sweetened and foamed Olestra.

    Same with the horse meat. I will consider it no big deal if it is accurately represented on its bill of contents. It can be ground up worms for what I care. If it is biologically compatible with me and it tastes good, I'll go for it.

    Personally, I am far more concerned with pesticide and other biocide remnants in my food. I am far more concerned with genetically modified stuff than things that have been in the food chain since life began. I do not know how well I or others may metabolize sheep designed to put spider silk proteins in their milk or corn designed to make its own pesticide. I guess time will tell.
  • by ballpoint ( 192660 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:05PM (#42642017)

    Cats and dogs are carnivores and on top of the food chain where the less than healthy stuff gets concentrated. All herbivores are good to eat, unless they're fed odd diets or medicated.

  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@got . n et> on Sunday January 20, 2013 @07:35PM (#42642673) Journal

    If I discovered 30% of the meet in my burger was lobster, I wouldn't be the least bit upset, just confused. I would be equally upset if I had discovered it was 100% beef, but that they used only cow rectums, snouts and bladders to make my hamburger. The issue is the issue of being cheated.

  • Re:McDonalds! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @08:28PM (#42642963)

    Beef and beef by products. Google 'pink slime' to get the muckraker version. They (McFood) did remove it eventually.

    Anecdote: I was feeding my dogs walmart house brand canned beef dogfood. I then went to TacoBell. As I pulled up to the drivethrough I got hit in the face by the smell of walmart house brand canned beef dogfood. I fed the tacos to the dogs. I haven't been back. That was 12 years ago. I extended it to no 'Yum Foods' brands, nothing to miss.

  • Re:McDonalds! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @08:31PM (#42642979)

    Yep. Angus beef: A strain of cattle that grows faster then most, ranchers love that. Lately a trademark into which much advertising has been sunk.

  • by Richard Dick Head ( 803293 ) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @09:08PM (#42643191) Homepage Journal
    I've been around horses in both the US and the UK, and it just seems like the general population of horses in the states are more inquisitive and self-aware than the horses in the UK. The horses I've seen in the UK seem more or less like cows, they just stand there and react bluntly. I've seen a horse in the US 1. do something it knew was "bad" 2. shy away and trot away slowly, looking guilty when the owner approached 3. got even more pitiful when the owner scolded it. Seems more like a smart terrier dog than a cow. I know they sure calculate their surroundings well...if an overweight person tries to approach a US horse they might get visibly nervous or even flee.

    That may explain the difference in attitude between areas. It is hard to feel sorry for an animal that is dense (hence our healthy and unapologetic appetite for cow meat), but a smart animal that you easily develop a relationship with would seem inhumane to use as livestock.

    You know, perhaps cow populations in India may be much more intelligent than the average Western cows, and that may be why they are reluctant to eat them. It'd be worth investigating, certainly.
  • Re:Go Vegan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:21AM (#42646129)
    As a Hindu, my burgers have no beef. Only chicken and sometimes bacon. However, horse is not verboten, so if I knew that a 'beef' burger was actually 100% horsemeat, as opposed to 29%, I'd have no problems w/ it.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"