Mystery meat

And other tales from the factory

February 27, 2013

And now, the fake-food news roundup!

Let’s start with the recent European horse-meat scandal, in which horse was labeled and sold as beef. (Europeans have a long tradition of eating horse meat, but it’s generally sold as what it is, not as something else.) Americans have mostly been rattled by the news that IKEA pulled its beloved frozen meatballs from circulation after they were revealed to contain horse. But the bigger health concern is the possible presence of phenylbutazone, a painkiller used on horses but banned from human consumption.

Meanwhile, the New York Times ran an excerpt from a new book by Michael Moss about the history of the junk-food industry. The book, Salt Sugar Fat, details just how precise our snacks can get — and how worrisome they are for our health.

Grist recently published an interview with Melanie Warner, whose new book, Pandora’s Lunchbox, covers much of the same addictive territory as Moss. Warner also just penned an amusing, if disturbing, article for the Washington Post on her adventures with liquid chicken.

Finally, writing in the op-ed section of the New York Times, Moises Velasquez-Manoff offered a careful assessment of the whole gluten-intolerance thing. “Blame for the increase of celiac disease sometimes falls on gluten-rich, modern wheat varietals; increased consumption of wheat, and the ubiquity of gluten in processed foods,” he noted. “Yet the epidemiology of celiac disease doesn’t always support this idea.” Chew that one over.

There are 3 comments on this item
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1. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM PST

Marion Nestle, as usual, has a good roundup of the horsemeat issue on her website, Food Politics.

2. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM PDT

And here’s Frank Bruni's take on the horsemeat scandal.

3. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM PDT

And AlterNet covered America's quiet role in the slaughter and exportation of horsemeat.

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