DNA reveals SA biltong scandal

2013-03-01 07:32
DNA testing.

DNA testing.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Most of South Africa's biltong - dried strips of cured meat and a much loved snack - has little to do with the ingredients on the label, according to DNA tests results published on Friday.

Game biltong which is popular with the health conscious, as it is considered lean and free-range, is the most mislabelled, according the study by scientists from the University of the Western Cape.

"The finding was that there is a major substitution of species in the market," said researcher Maria Eugenia D'Amato.

Of the 146 samples tested over 100 contained undeclared meat species. All the samples marked beef were correctly labelled, but for the most badly labelled case 92% of packets of kudu biltong contained different species such as horse, giraffe, pork beef and even kangaroo.

Researchers were concerned that one sample labelled zebra, contained meat from a mountain zebra, a species threatened with extinction.

Horse meat scandal

"Some of the substitutions are intentional because kangaroo does not occur in South Africa and it must have been imported," D'Amato said.

"Also finding pork in ostrich sausage, that is intentional, there is no way that is going to be a mistake," she said pointing that such actions infringed on some people's religious beliefs such as Jewish and Muslims who do not eat pork

The study, published in the European scientific journal BioMed Central, was conducted between 2009 and 2012.

It is the first of its nature in SA and entirely unlinked to the horse meat scandal that has riveted Europe.

Game meat biltong is mega business in SA where over 10 000 wildlife farms are listed.

The meat is seen as healthier than beef because it is leaner, contains low cholesterol and no hormones or antibiotics that get injected into domestic farm animals.

South African authorities on Thursday said they had launched an "urgent" investigation into how unlabelled donkey, water buffalo and goat meat got into products sold in supermarkets, following findings of a separate study.

The government requested the probe after reports had created "alarm and panic" after irregular ingredients were revealed in a Stellenbosch University study.

In that study, up to 68% of 139 meat samples from shops and butcheries had irregular ingredients, with pork and chicken most often substituted for other meat.

Plant matter was also found in the minced meat, burger patties, sausages and deli and dried meat.

Europe has been battling its own food drama after horsemeat was found in so-called beef ready-made meals and burgers in several countries.
Read more on:    health  |  genetics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.