Forget Horse Meat: South Africans Are Eating Mislabeled Buffalo, Donkey and Goat

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Europe is being rattled daily by the discovery of horse meat mislabeled as beef products — first in Ireland last month, then in Britain, and eventually across the continent. Yesterday, Swedish furniture-and-hors d’oeuvre giant IKEA recalled meatballs from stores in 14 European countries after Czech Republic authorities found traces of horse in frozen meatballs manufactured by a Swedish supplier.

(MORE: Horsemeat Scandal Spreads to IKEA Swedish Meatballs)

Now South Africa has its own mislabeled food products scandal: according to local food researchers, beef sold in the country may contain traces of water buffalo, donkey and goat meat, reports the Associated Press. While they did not find horsemeat, three professors at Stellenbosch University did find that 99 of 139 samples contained food that was not listed in the product label.

Sausages, burger patties, and deli meats were the most commonly mislabeled items. Twenty-eight percent of products contained soya and gluten, even though the labels didn’t say so. And in items that were not supposed to contain meat, scientists found 27 percent contained pork and 23 percent contained chicken.

As Co-author Professor Louwrens C. Hoffman told the AP Tuesday:

“This study confirms that the mislabeling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labeling regulations but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts.”

Meanwhile, Americans who are concerned about horsemeat contaminating the U.S. food supply chain may not have to worry. The Department of Agriculture says the country does not import meat from any of the 14 European nations involved in the horsemeat scare, the New York Times reports. And IKEA says there is no horsemeat in its U.S meatballs because they are made with beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S. and Canada.

(MORE: Joel Stein: Horse — It’s What’s For Dinner)