Following DNA testing which revealed some meat products marked 100-percent beef actually contained about one-percent horse meat in European countries, supply chain and procurement leaders are re-thinking their risk strategies. The scandal has been spreading, with more companies jumping in on precautionary testing and even recalling meat products.
Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea, for instance, temporarily pulled its meatballs from its stores and cafeterias across Europe and Asia while it could conduct testing. The temporary hold was expected to last about a month. Despite DNA testing that found no traces of horse meat just a few weeks earlier, Ikea’s further testing did reveal the presence of horse meat in its meatballs—subsequently, the company has recalled all of its meatballs in 20 countries.
Ikea maintains about 38 stores across the U.S., but the company says the U.S. stores are not affected by these findings or by the recall. U.S.-based stores obtain their meat domestically and domestic U.S. beef products have not been involved in the horse meat scandal to date.
Ikea is just one example of the many businesses and countries involved in these findings. While it hasn’t affected the U.S., that doesn’t mean that U.S. consumers and procurement leaders aren’t a bit squeamish. The situation has become a lesson in adequate testing, thorough QA, and careful analysis of suppliers.
What will come of this will be interesting to see, as horse meat is typically not consumed for human consumption in the U.S. In fact, plants producing horse meat for human consumption are illegal due to a current lack of U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for financing inspections.
Since 2011, there have been some efforts to re-establish processing of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S., primarily due to its popularity within Hispanic, Tongan, and Mongolian populations in the country.
Should those plans move forward, procurement leaders will face a whole new set of challenges. Avoiding a major fallout such as what is going on in Europe is a top priority.