Some stories seemingly appear out of nowhere, like creepy clowns attacking at Halloween. One such story making the rounds is that Aldi sells — or has sold — horse meat in its beef products.
Is this true?
In 2013, there was a massive horse meat scandal in Europe. Investigators in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and a number of other countries found various amounts of horse meat in beef sold in those countries. In some cases, the horse meat was up to 100% of the meat sold. Aside from the obvious problem many consumers would have with just eating horse meat, there were also concerns about certain horse-specific medications that could have made their way into the food supply. The scandal also created problems for Jews and Muslims who purchased the meat, as horse meat is considered unclean in those religions.
A number of European outlets were affected, from grocers to restaurants to catering services. In the United Kingdom, companies affected included Tesco, Ikea, Taco Bell, Burger King, Lidl, and Aldi UK. Aldi UK’s connection to the scandal came by way of, among other things, frozen entrees sold to the grocer through a French company.
Here are a few important notes about this story.
One, none of the horse meat reached the United States. The horse meat scandal was limited to Europe. No American grocers, including Walmart, Aldi US, or distant Aldi cousin Trader Joe’s, sold any of the meat. (At least 80% of the beef sold in the United States comes from inside the U.S., with most of the rest from Canada and Mexico.)
Two, the scandal involved several grocers and outlets, not just Aldi UK. There were a number of grocery chains other companies, across several European nations, that carried the meat. This was a massive scandal that may have involved upward of 50,000 horses across a huge supply chain.
Three, the story is an old one. The scandal broke in 2012 and 2013, and, to date, there has been no evidence of horse meat in the European supply chain since then.
So, there you have it.