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Alex Wright

Let them eat ass, say Egypt's food safety officials

Donkey burgers for all? [alAraby]

Date of publication: 15 June, 2015

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Donkey meat, though "disgusting", is perfectly safe to consume, according to the head of the Egyptian Food Safety Authority, as food prices continue to rocket and grocery bills mount up.
As long as the beast has been slaughtered hygienically, it is perfectly safe to eat donkey meat, Egypt's top food safety official has announced.

The statement is the latest twist in an ongoing food scandal in Egypt, as fears grow that donkey meat has been passed off as beef to unsuspecting shoppers.

"Donkey meat is exactly the same as any other meat," Hussein Mansour told an Egyptian TV channel. "It is only harmful if it is slaughtered using unhygienic methods - but it is disgusting, and some religions do not allow its consumption."

The official attempted to downplay public fears, saying the beast of burden - as well as dog meat - had long been eaten by blissfully unaware Egyptians.
     Donkey and dog meat... looks and tastes just like any other meat - even I can't tell the difference.
- Hussein Mansour, Egyptian Food Safety Authority chief 


"If you've eaten donkey by mistake, have no fears, nothing will happen," said Mansour.

"Two scientific studies have shown that donkey and dog meat have been sold in minced meat and ready-made sandwiches for ages. It looks and tastes just like any other meat - even I can't tell the difference."

Bad ass

Local news reported last week that Egyptian police raided a farm in Fayoum, which was found to be raising donkeys for human consumption. A drove of 1,500 live and 30 slaughtered donkeys were reportedly seized from the farm.

The owner of the donkey farm, reportedly still in police custody, claims the animals were being raised to feed lions in circuses around Cairo.

"The donkeys were being slaughtered to feed the National Circus' big cats," claimed a lion-tamer. "They were only slaughtering old donkeys and ones with broken legs," he told Youm7.

Under most interpretations of Islamic dietary laws, the meat of domesticated donkeys is forbidden for consumption - but the flesh of their wild cousin, the onager, is allowed.

Egypt's Dar al-Iftaa has previously ruled that slaughtering donkeys for human consumption is an "abominable" act.

The eating of unusual meats and foodstuffs comes into consideration as a national debate swirls around rising food prices amid government cuts to fuel and farming subsidies.

The average cost of vegetables has risen nearly 8 percent within the past year, in a country where half the population survive on less than $2 a day.

In an Antoinette-esque response to widespread complaints, Atif Yaqoub, the head of Egypt's consumer protection authority, recently told Egyptians: "If okra is too expensive, eat potatoes."

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