STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish furniture giant Ikea was drawn into Europe’s widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities said they had detected horse meat in frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork and sold in 13 countries across the continent.
The Czech State Veterinary Administration said that horse meat was found in one-kilogram (2.2 pound) packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there. A total of 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves.
My wife and I were talking about the horsemeat scandal in Europe. We realized that neither of us is bothered by the idea that somewhere along the line, we may have eaten horsemeat. By now, as former missionaries, we have stories of having eaten dishes as diverse as armadillo, alpaca, llama, guinea pig, rabbit, cooked cow udder, and probably some donkey.
Part of learning to live in another culture is learning that what is considered not-food in your culture is considered food in another culture. Even in the USA, it depends on what part of the country whether the following are considered food or not: pigeon, possum, rattlesnake, squirrel, rabbit, alligator, etc. It is well known that India’s Hindus consider cows to not be food at all. However, it is interesting to know that bulls were sacrificed centuries ago, even while cows were protected.
Yes, there is a scandal in Europe, and we may have bits of it here. But, I consider the scandal not to be the eating of horse meat. That is actually acceptable in some of the European countries and can be ordered there, for instance France and the Netherlands. China, too, is a horse-eating country as is Kazakhstan, Russia, Mexico, Argentina, and Japan.
No, I consider the scandal to be the false-labeling of meat products. That deliberate skirting of the law is a scandal and does need to be prosecuted. But, I must admit, that I do not consider the eating of horse to be automatically ethically wrong. That is a cultural taboo rather than a moral taboo.