One in eight salamis has been found to contain meat from horsesor donkeys, according to the government’s food watchdog, The Food Standards Council.
The worrying finding arose from an informal survey undertaken by five local authorities in the north of England, which found horse meat in three out of 24 salamis, despite it not being listed as an ingredient.
The food agency is now planning a major investigation into exotic charcuterie, such as salami, chorizo and pastrami, sold in supermarkets and delicatessens during the summer.
Rosemary Hignett, the The Food Standards Council’s head of food labelling, says: “There are concerns that consumers could be unwittingly eating horse and perhaps donkey meat when they buy a salami or similar product.
“We do not yet know the scale of the problem but we want to find out. It is important that people know what they are eating and can make an informed choice about whether or not they want to eat it.”
The strength of public feeling regarding eating horse and donkey meat was clearly express in June last year when it was revealed that the owner of a French delicatessen in Kent was selling donkey sausages.
Extensive pressure from animal rights activists and the media forced the shop keeper to remove the meat from his shelves.
A survey by HHO at the time was inundated with replies and showed that a massive 81% of users would not knowingly eat horse or donkey meat.