ScienceShot: How Much Horse Is in Your Burger?

Havva Tümay Temiz/Food Research Center/Hacettepe University/Ankara-Turkey and Hasan Murat Velioglu/Meat and Meat Products TechnologyProgramme/Namik Kemal University/Tekirdag-Turkey

ScienceShot: How Much Horse Is in Your Burger?

Don't like surprises in your hamburgers? New research may help ensure that you don't get a serving of horse meat when you buy beef. Using Raman spectroscopy, a technique where light scattered off a sample is used to measure molecular vibrations, researchers have created a scoring system that can distinguish beef, horse meat, and mixtures of the two. The work, to be published next month in Food Chemistry, is timely considering a meat scandal that occurred early last year in Europe, where some of the products sold as beef in grocery stores and to caterers turned out to be partially or entirely horse meat instead. The motive appears to have been profit, as horse meat is generally cheaper than beef. Testing to check for horse meat is generally done using DNA analysis, but the new method allows for a simpler and quicker test that can be performed onsite.

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