What's the beef? Another 'poison' donkey-meat discovery in Egypt

What's the beef? Another 'poison' donkey-meat discovery in Egypt
Egyptian authorities on Friday discovered seven tons of donkey meat, dyed red in disguise, which was declared unfit for human consumption by the country's veterinary authority.
2 min read
06 January, 2017
An estimated 4.3 million Egyptians believe they have recently eaten donkey meat [Anadolu]

Egyptian police confiscated seven tons of donkey meat and offal labelled as beef in the outskirts of Cairo on Thursday.

The meat was condemned as unfit for human consumption by the country's veterinary authority and the meat trader responsible was arrested in Giza.

"Eating donkey meat can cause humans serious damage," said Mohammed Amr, director of the poisons centre at the University of Cairo.

"It contains bacteria, fungal parasites - including tapeworm - and dangerous viruses that infect the gut and cause chronic diseases."

There have been a large number of similar seizures of donkey meat in recent months, as economists warn that rising food costs and lackadaisical food inspectors are creating a 'perfect storm' for brazen food smugglers.

The minister for agriculture, Essam Fayed, has reportedly ordered tighter controls on the sale and trading of meat, according to a statement released on the Ministry of Agriculture's website on Friday.

Meat label
[Click to expand] The label intended for use with
the donkey meat
Translation: Contents: Minced beef, 500 grams,
produced in 6 October [a Cairo suburb]

Fayed was appointed the role of fighting corruption in the ministry of agriculture in September 2015, however donkey meat sales have reportedly risen in the past year regardless.

An Egyptian vet told The New Arab last week that the public's trust in Egyptian meat was at an all-time low, as donkey and cat meat was repeatedly being found with false labels.

According to a 2016 poll conducted by Baseera, a political survey company, approximately 4.3 million Egyptians believe they have eaten donkey meat recently.

And back in 2015, Egypt's top food safety official announced that as long as the beast has been slaughtered hygienically, it is perfectly safe to eat donkey meat. 

"Donkey and dog meat... looks and tastes just like any other meat - even I can't tell the difference," said Hussein Mansour.