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heathfield | 16:10 Sun 10th Feb 2013 | Food
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Why are the government and the media constantly describing beef to which horsemeat has been added as being 'contaminated'? This word describes something to which a poison, or polluting or infecting substance has been added. Yet we're being told that these products won't actually harm us. ('Bute' excepted). Surely the word they should all be using is 'adulterated'.


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Your whiskey will have been contaminated with excess water, but the reason you might wish to use a different word is that all foodstuffs have some water in it already.
18:13 Mon 11th Feb 2013
Because it all suggests that the horsemeat used was not necessarily from an approved source, racehorses for an example and as well as bute may contain antibiotics and any other drugs that may not be classed as fit for passing into the human food chain.
I agree, I have no problem with the idea of eating horse ( tried it in France years ago, didn't know at the time, but it tasted just like steak )
I have a problem with being lied to, If I buy beef, I expect to get beef and not pork or horse. Also the 'bute' bothers me, and the fact that the horse meat won't have been through all the checks that our meat goes through before we eat it.
Because its more emotive. Unless you haven't noticed, the meeja like to sensationalise.
Meat like Beef and Lamb can usually be traced to source (farm etc).

But we have no idea where this horsemeat came from.

While it seems it was killed in Romania it could have been bought very cheaply at knackers yards anywhere in Eastern Europe.

We have no idea where this horsemeat came from, if it was quality meat, if it was infected with drugs and other medicines, how fresh it was, where it was stored and so on.
Actually, although contaminate is commonly used as you say, in fact it can also mean simply "to make impure", it doesn't have to mean harmful. Merriam-webster gives an example "Make sure the white paint is not contaminated by any of the other colors."

Butter in your sandwich is not a contaminant; butter in the marmalade is.
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Hi Rojash. 'Contaminated' in the examples you give would be the result of accident. Deliberately watered-down whisky is always referred to as having been 'adulterated', never as 'contaminated', which is why I'd describe beef containing horsemeat in the same way as the watered whisky. As to the horsemeat being full of nasties, a Food Standards Agency spokesperson told us on TV this very morning that it's perfectly safe to eat! (Believe it if you will)! ;-)
I'd consider contaminated the right word, but it would depend on your viewpoint.

con·tam·i·nate/v. kənˈtæməˌneɪt; n., adj. kənˈtæmənɪt, -ˌneɪt/ Show Spelled [v. kuhn-tam-uh-neyt; n., adj. kuhn-tam-uh-nit, -neyt] Show IPA verb, con·tam·i·nat·ed, con·tam·i·nat·ing, noun, adjective
verb (used with object)
1. to make impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with something unclean, bad, etc.: to contaminate a lake with sewage.

If you don;t want or expect horse in your food then you ar entitled to consider that bad and thus contaminated.

Such as when GM sellers contaminate food and try to force countries to allow sale of it in their market.
Your whiskey will have been contaminated with excess water, but the reason you might wish to use a different word is that all foodstuffs have some water in it already.
Does it?

It comes from the latin to defile or spoil

If something's meant to be beef and has horse meat in it it's certainly spoilt!

Safe to eat is an interesting thing to say - I doubt the scientists actually said that - I'd image they said the samples they tested were.

The point is that control of the food chain was lost - carcasses fit for human consumption might have been mixed with those that were not and only chance determined that.

Can you imagine those responsible saying "Yes add that horse but not that one, that one's only fit for dog meat"

But they're clearly trying to avoid a panic
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OG. 'adulterated' is the term used in law to describe watered-down whisky.
;-) We don't all speak leagalise
So, are you sharing around this whiskey or not ?
This is probably the most serious food-related issue since BSE.

If I buy a frozen Apple Pie from Tesco and find it has sprouts in it instead when I have cooked it, I wouldn't be terribly pleased. In fact I would be livid as I think that sprouts are the Devils Food.

It would seem to me that the supermarkets are mainly to blame here. They have forced their suppliers to operate on such small profit margins, that this was bound to happen. Up until 2 weeks ago, you could buy a ready meal for 79p in Asda. Does anybody realistically think that you can have a good quality meal for 79p ? It has probably been happening for years. God only knows what we have been eating. Its enough to turn us all into vegetarians.

Mind you, I always think that vegetarians enthuse but rarely persuade. They always seems so thin and sour-looking.

Hitler was a veggie. Did anyone ever see him smile ?

I think the historians have not fully explored the connection between vegetarianism and WW2. I'm sure that Hitler would have been a much nicer person if he had the odd bacon sandwich every now and then.
How is the testing of these 'meat' products actually done, with so many countries, suppliers, retailers etc. being held responsible? If I was suspicious of something where could I go to get it tested?

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