DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland’s surprise discovery this month of horsemeat traces in factory-produced burgers is boosting business for one trade: Forensics labs that use DNA fingerprinting to tell you what’s on your plate.
Horsemeat, which costs a fraction of beef, might not be bad for you to eat but it’s definitely bad for sales of products that are labeled as beef.
Until now, supermarkets and food processors have not used DNA testing to determine whether food products marked as chicken, pork, beef, lamb or fish contain bits of other animals. Experts say that’s because such findings don’t affect food safety, only the integrity of labeling.
But a growing list of food processors and retailers say they will introduce such testing after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland – seeking to confirm whether food labels on meat and fish are accurate – used DNA testing to show that even “pure” processed meat products often contain traces of other animals slaughtered in the same facilities or carried in the same vehicles.