Horse meat to eat in Minnesota? It's legal, but good luck finding it

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2013 - 5:34 PM

Signs are required at retail outlets that say “horse meat sold here.”

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The outside of a butchers where horsemeat is available, in Paris, Friday Feb. 15, 2013.

Photo: Jacques Brinon, Associated Press - Ap

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It is perfectly legal to sell horse meat for human consumption in Minnesota.

But that doesn’t mean there is anyone offering up descendants of Mr. Ed for your next grilling experience.

Global furniture maker Ikea, with stores near the Mall of America and elsewhere in North America, is dealing with a widening scandal and has withdrawn Swedish meatballs served from stores across Europe amid suspicions that they contained horse meat.

In a statement Monday from its statewide headquarters in Pennsylvania, Ikea said that all meatballs sold in its U.S. stores are made of meat from suppliers in the United States and “contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S. and Canada.”

The law in Minnesota does allow for the sale of horse meat for people’s dining pleasure, but there are requirements that signs be clearly posted at retail outlets that say “horse meat sold here.” All packages of horse meat — if there were any in Minnesota — must be similarly labeled.

There does not appear to be any horse meat being offered in Minnesota for human consumption, according to a state Agriculture Department official and a representative of Von Hanson’s Meats, a leading premium butcher with many outlets in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the state.

However, there are instances of people in the state eating horse, and the state has no problem with that.

Dr. Nicole Neeser, the state’s meat inspection program manager, said the Agriculture Department does hear on occasion about Minnesotans who butcher a horse for their own kitchen table or to feed to pets or sled dogs.

“That is legal to do in Minnesota,” said Neeser. “Any animal, you can do that for your own use.”

Neeser, who grew up on a beef and sheep farm near Windom, Minn., said she has never eaten horse meat, but “oh, sure, I would try it. … From what I hear, it’s fairly tasty.”

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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