From The Grio — Many years ago, I tried this crash diet that consisted largely of eating boiled eggs. I was a happy high school cheerleader with the right height and “wrong” size. I was a sturdy base who wanted desperately to be one of the petite girls on the team who were whimsically tossed into the air. A friend of my mother’s had lost weight, which she attributed to a diet of boiled eggs and water. Just like that, I traded in Big Macs for boiled eggs. (In retrospect, I could have just stopped with the Big Macs. But my sense of logic didn’t work so well back then.)
I was into my third dozen eggs when a curious thing happened. I cracked the shell of a boiled egg, broke it open and two grey yolks fell out. Some people might have thought, “Ooh! Two for one!” But I stared at the paper towel in horror. Twins, I thought. It hit me then that some chicken somewhere was expecting babies and I was eating them. For reasons I’m not quite sure of, I quit eggs, beef and pork that day in 1996. Two years later, I did away with poultry. I haven’t touched meat since.
That’s not a story I tell to offer a high-handed moralizing of eating versus not eating meat, or to convince you to change your diet. I don’t impose. What you eat is your business, American meat lovers. I just wonder if in the last few days, given certain news stories, you’ve ever questioned what’s in your food as I have.
A recent two-year study on American seafood found compelling evidence of “seafood fraud.” Researchers found fish sold as snapper and tuna were likely to be mislabeled, 87 and 59 percent of the time, respectively. Overall, one-third of all samples used for the study were misidentified out of over a thousand samples taken.
And this is why I empathize with carnivores. Over the last several days, major international companies, including Tesco, Nestlé and Ikea, have pulled food from shelves in 14 countries after tests showed that products labeled 100 percent beef actually contained small amounts of horse meat.
Tests of Taco Bell meat found traces of horse meat in Europe. Allegedly “100 percent beef” burgers from the UK shopping giant Tesco were found to contain 29 percent horse meat. Over in the Czech Republic, traces of horse meat were discovered in the iconic meatballs of Swedish furniture retailer Ikea. And in South Africa, researchers found that biltong, which is supposed to be dried antelope meat strips (a local delicacy), turned out to contain horse, pork, beef, giraffe or even kangaroo.