Thought for the month

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.” Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623 – 62).

Monday, 4 March 2013

DNA and horses


Recent months have seen the spectacular application of of the technology of DNA to two very different areas. It now seems conclusive that the body unearthed under a Leicester car park is that of King Richard III, the last English king to die in battle. A vital part of the overall evidence being that DNA from the skeleton matched two of Richard III's maternal line relatives. Richard was killed in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth. According to Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Richard the Third when the battle raged around him he called out “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”

A surfeit of horse seems to be the problem within the European food industry. DNA testing has shocked consumers by identifying the presence of horse meat within several processed food products. It seems that horse has been substituted for beef. Clearly products must contain, and only contain, the stated ingredients but as carnivores is horse less preferential to beef or pig? Whilst the situation currently is an unbridled disaster for some food producers perhaps, when things are more stable, we need to take a less blinkered view about the mane ingredients in processed meals?

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