An Investigation Into the Availability of Horsemeat in Belgium, France and the Netherlands
Grocery stores in three European countries where horse meat is consumed-Belgium, France and the Netherlands-were surveyed to determine its availability. Horse meat was found in a majority of the stores surveyed. Though it is often sold as a whole product it is not always clearly labeled and may be one of many products in cheap processed foods.
Attitudes toward eating horse meat: About half of adults in Belgium (51%) and France (50%) viewed eating horse meat as acceptable, with men more likely than women to find the practice acceptable in both countries.
Excerpts from Study Results/Conclusion:
“Horsemeat or products containing horsemeat were found in 14 of the 21 stores visited. The majority of these retail outlets had between one and four different kinds of horsemeat product on sale. However, three stores (2 in Belgium and 1 in France) were found to sell seven different horsemeat products and two vendors (in Belgium and the Netherlands) had a total of eight on their shelves. No horsemeat was found in two stores in Belgium, four in France and one in the Netherlands.”
“The present retail study highlights that fresh, chilled horsemeat and processed horsemeat products are readily available in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. With respect to the latter country, it is evident that horsemeat there is generally sold in the form of smoked meat slices or incorporated as an ingredient in cheap convenience meat products, rather being sold as fresh steaks.”
“The high level of horsemeat imports from third countries is not reflected in the labelling of horsemeat products with reliable country of origin information only really being provided for fresh cuts of horsemeat.”
“Despite high levels of exports to Belgium and France from both Brazil and Mexico, no fresh products from these countries were found in stores during this investigation…While the fresh horsemeat from Brazil and Mexico may well have been removed from chilled cabinets of most Belgian supermarkets, it is more than likely that meat deriving from horses slaughtered in these countries is still ending up being sold there in a processed form. For the consumer, it is simply impossible to ascertain where the meat used in processed products originally comes from.”