20 Examples of Counterfeit Meats That Are Way Grosser Than Horse

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Photo: Corbis

For many, Mondays are meatless. Read on here, and you'll probably end up adding Tuesdays through Sundays. While the horse meat scandal continues to expand in Europe and more and more schools and retailers and restaurants who could have sworn they were serving beef find out that they weren't, it's become clear that once added to a food system, counterfeit meat can really have legs, in addition to what are purportedly shanks and trotters. So keep a close eye on your rump roast: Here are some of the worse mystery-meat substitutions from the last few years.

• Cat meat as mutton kebabs. When mixed with mutton fat and grilled, cooked cat smells just like the real thing, apparently.

• Shady humped zebu cattle instead of graded and inspected domestic beef. Twenty percent of samples taken from 40 bars and restaurants in southwest Britain in 2008 were found to be mislabeled. In many cases, South American or meat from Botswana was sold as English beef.

• Cane rat was sold as bush meat. It happened in a London market.

• Pig blood was passed off as duck blood. In China, duck blood is congealed and made into a pudding. Supplies are sometimes bolstered by cheaper pig's blood that has been treated with chemicals to make it taste more like the real thing. It also acts as a preservative.

• Cheap beef instead of halal lamb. In 2010 in Glasgow, several halal butchers were raided after if was discovered many of them were selling illegal meat.

• Decomposing lambs' brains, cows' muzzles, smoked hides, gizzards, goat parts, and loads of cows' feet were sold as lunch. Police raided a rat-infested East London warehouse in 2003 and discovered more than 30 tons of rotting meat that was destined to be chemically treated, rendered, and introduced "into the human food chain." The meat was said to be headed for "halal butchers and Afro-Caribbean outlets."

• Latin American buffalo instead of prime, well-pedigreed beef. After outlawing Polish imports to Russia altogether in 2005, the two countries came to a trade agreement, but in 2007, Russian authorities announced in that 20 percent of all meat that arrived in the first quarter of that year was fraudulent to some degree. "In particular," Interfax reported, "buffalo meat brought in from Latin America already had fake European veterinary certificates and was marked as high-quality beef of well-known Polish and European producers."

• Mercury-tainted dolphin instead of whale meat. It happened in Japan, where they shouldn't be eating either.

• Carabeef instead of beef. Thousand of tons of water buffalo was passed off as cow in the Philippines.

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It doesn't add up.Photo:Corbis


• Giant, sickly snails instead of fancy-pants escargot. Consider the Giant African land snail. Found in Nigeria, these guys are both jumbo and invasive, which sounds ready-made for an ethical substitution for European land snails, except for the fact that the snails on steroids can sometimes cause meningitis.

• Hunks of putrid, rotten meat instead of pork shanks. It happened in Chongqing, where old mystery meat was soaked in vats of nitrite and hydrogen peroxide and then "stitched to pork hide" to pass it off as the real thing.

• Pork itself may have infiltrated your hamburgers, too. Everyone keeps talking about horse, but don't forget the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found pig DNA in 85 percent of the hamburger patties they tested back in January.

• Vulture meat instead of chicken. That grilled "chicken" you picked up in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, might very well be a bird of prey.

• Heavily disguised duck instead of beef and mutton. In Liaoyang, authorities discovered more than 40 tons of counterfeit meat earlier this month.

• Dyed pork passed off as filet mignon. Last year, a Swedish wholesaler reported taking delivery on a large shipment of "beef" from Hungary that turned out to be thousands of pounds of raw pork loins treated with food coloring to make it look like raw beef. In all, almost 4,000 tons of the doctored pork, which cannot be served rare or raw like beef, was removed from supermarket shelves in Sweden, but that's not before it was suspected to have been sold elsewhere. At least one batch of counterfeit meat was traced to Argentina, but the trail went cold.

• Duck mixed with fertilizer as "New Zealand Lamb Chops Grade A." It's amazing what you can do with a little ammonium chloride, some food coloring, and some meat tenderizer.

• Beef top round instead of mutton. In Singapore, five butchers and vendors have been busted for making the switcheroo in the last four years.

• Chemically burned pork in place of beef. All it takes is a little "beef extract" and some creativity, it seems. This allegedly happens in Shanghai, where pork is much cheaper than beef.

• Illegal deer meat from northern New Jersey may have made it into some blue plate special chili at area diners. While authorities have announced they could not find evidence that Mark Jarema sold fresh-killed deer to restaurants in Raritan and Belmar after using his girlfriend's head as a gun rest during his impromptu hunting expeditions, they do know he killed several deer, butchered them in his girlfriend's mom's basement, and sold the meat. "We weren't able to make further connection to restaurants," police said last week, "because by the time we were informed of the potential sale, months had passed and it would have been impossible to link the sale to the restaurant." Also, one of those restaurants has closed.

• Donkey meat instead of beef. In South Africa, 99 out of 139 samples taken from "beef" burgers and sausages returned varying levels of donkey, buffalo, pork, chicken, and goat. And that happened today.