With the news that the world’s best place to get trapped in a maze full of Swedish furniture constructed with wooden dowels and spirit gum, IKEA has suffered the indignity of having their famous meatballs tainted by horse hide. Oh, the shame of having one’s reheated frozen meatballs accursed by a non-beef product! America immediately wanted to know if their American IKEA Swedish meatballs were safe — well, as safe as a place that puts pink slime in their meat can be.

According to today’s New York Times report, no horse meat has been found in the IKEA meatballs sold in the U.S. They only contain beef and pork from animals raised in the United States and Canada. Which, yah, Canada.

In order to fortify their position, IKEA is DNA-testing their meatballs just to make sure. That’s actually one thing that sounds a bit scary — needing to have your meat DNA tested just to be sure that it doesn’t have ground up bits of foreign meat (or foreign anything else) inside.

So naturally that raises the question of whether or not products in the U.S. currently utilize horse meat. Apparently, meat products sold in the United States must pass Department of Agriculture inspections and government financing hasn’t been available for inspection of horse meat for human consumption in the United States since 2005. (Erm, we won’t think too hard about Taco Bell before 2005, will we? No.) Financing the inspection of horse meat was actually forbidden in 2005. Ergo, if the government banned the inspection of horse meat, horse meat can’t be on the list of meats allowable for consumption. Even though advocates for horse meat are hoping the USDA reverses this ruling and inspectors are available for horse meat soon. Perhaps this new wave of horrible horse meat PR in the UK will help make it happen?! Oh, you can hope, all you Advocates for the Slaughter of Horses for Meat out there, right?! Is this really a commercial for you guys? We wonder.

Speaking about horse slaughter, 2007 was the last year this occurred in the U.S. A Belgian company operated the plant, but exported the meat out of the country. Also a small plant in Roswell, N.M., was retooled to slaughter 20 to 25 horses a day in 2011, but legal challenges prevented it from opening. So, while horse meat isn’t on grocery shelves, it’s not because no one has thought about it in recent years. It’s just that every effort to make it happen has been blocked, especially when it comes to getting horse meat on the dinner table. That’s not to say that there aren’t people in the states who would readily eat horsemeat. According to some experts, there are. Tongans, Mongolians and various Hispanic populations. Other experts disagree and say that horse meat is only coveted in places like Italy, France and Belgium.

We assume it’s like anything else. How do you know unless you try it? Is it possible that horse meat could be the next big trendy thing Hollywood celebrities make popular? I’m thinking we’re all naive to think otherwise. “Horse filet with truffle oil, baby field greens, and roasted, creamed squash.” Yes? Yes.

There’s only one problem, and it’s a doozy. Despite the meat being high in protein, low in fat, and with a lot of omega 3s, the Humane Society says that one of the big reasons why it’s not consumed in the U.S. is because “the animals’ flesh is likely to contain residues of many drugs that are unsafe for humans to eat. The organization’s list of drugs given to horses runs to 29 pages.”

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States says,” “We’ve been warning the Europeans about this for years. You have all these food safety standards in Europe – they do not import chicken carcasses from the U.S. because they are bathed in chlorine, and won’t take pork because of the use of ractopamine in our industry – but you’ve thrown out the book when it comes to importing horse meat from North America.”

Thanks for adding that, Wayne.

WAIT, WHAT?! Chickens are bathed in chlorine?! And pork uses ractopamine to make it lean and skinny?! So a diet pill for the pork?! We also can’t forget that the wonderful pink slime filler we consumed for years unknowingly used little puffs of ammonia.

Er, uh, what were we all afraid of again? Oh, that’s right. The horses sent to kill us from IKEA, shelving unit destroyer, and horse meat DNA testers. Can we have all our meat tested for chemical cleaners and performance enhancing drugs while we’re testing things?!

Again, something else to be filed under, “Oh, America.”

Image: Flickr