In Print: Horse. It’s What’s For Dinner

The Newscripts blog would like to be closer Internet buddies with our glossy print Newscripts column, so here we highlight what’s going on in the current issue of C&EN.

Horse: Potential party crasher. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Some may be worried about recent news reports of horse DNA being detected in processed beef. Alex Tullo, however, isn't one of them. The C&EN senior correspondent explores the recent uproar over horse meat in this week's Newscripts print column, discussing the Food Safety Authority of Ireland's detection of horse DNA in burger products as well as the efforts of New Mexico-based firm Valley Meat to sell horse meat in the U.S. But the most provocative part of the column comes when Alex remembers the time from his childhood when his dad, in line with the culinary traditions of his Italian family, cooked horse steaks for dinner. Alex writes that his dad had a friend "acquire horse meat for him somewhere in New Jersey." Alex says the story reflects his dad's sense of humor, but it's also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Alex' unconventional food adventures. As Alex tells the Newscripts blog, he loves frog, tolerates alligator, and adores boar. "I usually get these kinds of meat when I am traveling," he says. "I don't have the nerve to prepare them myself." Despite his appetite for the unconventional, however, Alex can understand the reasons behind the recent uproar over the discovery of horse DNA in beef. Horses "represent too much to the culture," he says. "Go to any city park, you'll find statues of military leaders mounted on horses." Nevertheless, he maintains that there are unintended consequences that can come from not slaughtering horses. For instance, "feral horses are a big problem in the Southwest," he says. Alex predicts that the public will experience many more horse-meat-style scares in the future, especially given the increasing use of DNA testing to authenticate food (a topic that, he points out, C&EN Senior Editor Sarah Everts actually reported on back in 2009). "We're going to learn a lot about what we have been eating over the next couple of years," Alex predicts.

Author: Jeff Huber

Jeff Huber is an associate editor at C&EN. He enjoys finding peculiar news stories that make him laugh and/or tilt his head in a thoughtful manner. This hobby has served him well as a contributor to the Newscripts blog.

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