Warning Claims ALDI Beef Products Contain 100% Horsemeat
Outline"Breaking News" story claims that ALDI USA has confirmed that their "beef" products contain 100% horsemeat.
© Depositphotos.com/Duncan Noakes
Brief AnalysisThe message is both out-dated and highly misleading. Back in early 2013, horsemeat was indeed found in some products sold by ALDI and several other grocery outlets. But, the contamination affected products sold in the UK and Ireland. It did not affect products sold in the United States as claimed in the message. Blame for the contamination has been placed on the companies supplying the products. ALDI was not deliberately selling the horsemeat products as implied in the message. And the company has long since withdrawn the contaminated products and no longer users the supplier responsible. Sending on this outdated message is pointless and will help nobody.
A circulating Facebook message, which breathlessly bills itself as "Breaking News", claims that the US branch of international supermarket chain ALDI has confirmed that there is up to 100% horsemeat in products it sells as beef.
The claims in the message are based on actual events. But, given that the contamination described took place well over a year ago, the "Breaking News" claim is ludicrous. The European horsemeat scandal first broke back in February 2013.
And, as well as being hopelessly outdated, the message is highly misleading. While certainly real, the products contaminated with horsemeat were sold via grocery outlets in the UK and Ireland, not the United States. There are no credible reports that suggest that any products containing horsemeat were sold in any ALDI USA stores.
A post on the ALDI USA Facebook Page confirms this:
The product you referenced is not sold in the US, and no ALDI US products were affected by the UK product withdrawal that occurred in February. We believe a recirculated news story from February has caused some confusion among our US customers, so we’re glad you asked. As an ALDI fan, please feel free to help us clear up this misunderstanding by sharing this information with your friends.Moreover, ALDI was not the only company affected by the contamination. A NineMSN article from January 2013 noted:
Burgers containing 30 percent horsemeat have been found in supermarkets in the UK and Ireland.And, even in Europe, where the contamination actually occurred, it was only specific products sold at ALDI that proved to be contaminated, not all of its beef products as implied in the above message.
An analysis of meat at three processing plants found 10 out of 27 beef products contained horse DNA.
The products were stocked in supermarkets including Tesco, Iceland Foods, Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi − one Tesco burger was found to be 29 percent horsemeat.
The samples also showed 23 beef products and 21 frozen beef meals, including cottage pie and lasagne, contained pig DNA.
The products have been withdrawn from shelves.
The wording of the message's headline also implies that ALDI was deliberately and knowingly trying to palm off horsemeat as beef. However, this was not the case. Blame for the contamination has been placed squarely with the suppliers.
A February 9, 2013 Huffington Post article explained:
An Aldi spokesman said: "Tests have been completed that show horse meat in the withdrawn products. In samples selected at random, tests demonstrated that the withdrawn products contained between 30% and 100% horse meat.Thus, passing on this misleading and outdated message will help nobody. It seems likely that the perpetrators of the message have recycled this old news in a blatant effort to promote their Facebook Page rather than out of any genuine desire to warn the public about a food contamination issue.
"This is completely unacceptable and like other affected companies, we feel angry and let down by our supplier.
"If the label says beef, our customers expect it to be beef. Suppliers are absolutely clear that they are required to meet our stringent specifications and that we do not tolerate any failure to do so.
"We have acted quickly to withdraw the affected products from sale, conduct additional testing and review the performance of our suppliers. The products from Comigel will not be sold in our stores again and we will no longer take any product from Comigel."
Last updated: October 31, 2014
First published: November 19, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen