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Horse meat scandal prompts concerns in ETX

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(KYTX) - Ikea is the latest big-name brand involved in the European horse meat scandal. 

Inspectors from the Czech Republic found horse meat in more than 1,600 pounds of meatballs headed to the furniture store's restaurants. Burger King and Nestle have also tried explain why horse meat has shown up in beef in the U.K. recently.

Investigators say the packs of frozen meat were falsely labeled as beef and pork.

Workers at Country Meat Market in Tyler say most of the meat that comes into restaurants and grocery stores in East Texas is brought in from other countries, but it is heavily regulated by the USDA. They say the only way you can be 100% sure about where your meat comes from is if you buy it local.

"That's why I come here."

Adrian Lebrecht says horse meat is no joke..

"Those are our pets!"

And, when it comes to his beef, he's not taking any chances.

"I can't imagine anyone cutting up my horse and serving it to me on a plate."

But, that's what happening across Europe in at least 12 different countries.

In Britain, one grocery store was caught selling burgers with as much as 25% horse meat.

Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney says it basically comes down to counterfeit beef.

"We need to collectively deal with the threat of fraudulent labeling, which is what this is, selling horse meat as beef and making a profit on that."

Lebrecht says he trusts the United States Department of Agriculture to not let horse meat slip through the cracks and end up in our food.

"I would think that that wouldn't be something that would happen here."

"If you're buying at a restaurant or big grocery store, big box store, where the meat comes from could actually be anywhere in the world. There are USDA inspectors in other countries monitoring the food supply."

But, Timothy Benson with Country Meat Market says buying local is still the only way you can be absolutely sure about the quality of your meat.

"I can actually show you the cow today that will be on your plate next week."

And, that assurance is what keeps his customers coming back.

Restaurant managers should be able to tell you where their meat comes from if you ask them. And, if beef is properly inspected, it will be labeled. Never buy beef with no labeling.

"USA Today" reports horse meat is actually a popular food in Italy, France, Nordic countries, and certain parts of Asia. In fact, the Japanese often eat it sashimi style.

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