The Netherlands recently joined the ever-growing list of countries within the EU hit by the horsemeat scandal.
An estimated 50,000 tonnes of contaminated meat is said to have been sold by Dutch suppliers since January 2011.
The two suppliers, Wiljo Import en Export BV and Vleesgroothandel Willy Selte, owned by the same man, are attempting to recall affected products where possible. The Dutch food authority has said that due to the large time scale, most of the effected meat ‘may have already been consumed’.
EU spokesman Frederic Vincent said: “The Dutch announcement is a consequence of the investigations which were launched by EU member states.” These investigations are aiming to detect both horse DNA and any potential veterinary drugs harmful to humans.
The Dutch have joined the increasing list of countries caught up in the scandal which includes France, Germany, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Many have dubbed the scandal ‘food fraud’ not food safety, an opinion shared by the UK Food Standards Agency who said that contaminated meat poses ‘no health risks’. Despite this, traces of veterinary drugs that are harmful to humans have been found in small amounts of the contaminated meat unknowingly sold on the market.
The ‘food fraud’ is thought to have started as a way of cutting costs. Horsemeat is described to have a similar, if sweeter, taste to beef looking similar in both raw and cooked states. Additionally, in the processed minced form it is even more difficult to tell the two apart.
Although the scandal shocked the nation, many university students appear unaffected by the issues the general public have. DMU Journalism and English student, Owen Faulkner said: “You can protest the issues around eating veal, but it happens regularly in the UK and people don’t blink an eye. Why should it be different for horsemeat?”
Mr Faulkner continued. “Students [are] already suffering from crippling fees and have been forced to buy alternatives, I don’t see a problem if it looks and tastes the same – now I’ve been forced to buy more expensive products.”
As the extent of the scandal grows ever wider, many are left wondering how companies will change their processes to allow more clarity and whether the issues are limited to northern Europe.