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Fri Oct 31 08:15:12 SAST 2014

French pooh-pooh neigh-sayers over horse meat

Reuters | 13 February, 2013 01:10
A metal horse head outlined with a neon light is seen above a horsemeat butcher shop in Paris
A metal horse head outlined with a neon light is seen above a horsemeat butcher shop in Paris February 11, 2013. The British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagna last week on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, and the French and British governments have since vowed to punish those found responsible for allowing horsemeat originating from Romania to be sold as beef. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS)
Image by: CHARLES PLATIAU / Reuters

In a dingy Parisian back street, diners at a one-of-a-kind bistro tuck lustily into breaded horse brain, pan-fried heart of horse and broiled cheek, and prime rump horse steaks the chef cuts from the bone himself.

If the thought of having eaten Romanian cart horses in mislabelled frozen lasagne is making Britons choke, a loyal minority in France laments a dwindling appetite for a meat they say is a tastier and healthier alternative to beef.

"When horses are reared properly it's a delicious meat. It's much tastier than beef and has much less fat," said Gerard Marin, 67.

British and EU officials will try to work out today how to contain a scandal over horse meat sold as beef.

The scandal, affecting a growing number of European countries and retailers, began in Ireland when its food-safety authority discovered horse meat in frozen beef burgers.

The revelations raised questions about the integrity of the food-supply chain.

France's taste for horse meat dates back to when 18th-century revolutionaries stole the horses of the hated aristos. Reuters

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