Identification of horsemeat presence in beef commercial butcheries using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Exhibit Hall AB (Kansas City Convention Center)
Gilberto Aranda-Osorio , Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Chapingo, Mexico
Abstract Text:

Identification of horsemeat presence in beef commercial butcheries using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique

Guillermo Reséndiz-González1, Gilberto Aranda-Osorio1, Baldomero Alarcón-Zúñiga1, Maximino Huerta-Bravo1, Omar Hernández-Mendo2.

1/ Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. Chapingo, México. 2/ Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, México.


The objective of the present study was to determine the presence of horsemeat in beef commercial butcheries through the use of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique. Statiscally, horsemeat is not consumed in Mexico, however, the country occupied important places in the world as producer (4o. with 64,695 ton) and exporter (4o. with 14,026 ton), remaining an important amount (a little more than 50,000 ton) that should be commercialized into the domestic market, thus the question is if some portion of this amount is commercialized as beef in one of the biggest markets in the country, Mexico City. To give answer to this question, there were sampled 22.5% of the Delegational markets of Mexico City (the City is divided in 16 Delegations, each one have different numbers of markets, depending on their size and population). From a completely random design there were selected two butcheries per market, in each butchery, there was asked (bought) for a portion of specific cut of beef, approximately 250 g of “aguayón” (Biceps femoris), although it was not always the case. Once the sample was obtained, it was immediately identified and kept on ice for transportation to the meat lab, once arrived to it, the samples were prepared: from the center of the meat cut (to avoid contamination) a subsample of 1 g was deposited in a vial and freeze (-80oC) until lab analysis.  The PCR technique used was based in the methodology reported by Matsunaga et al. (1999). Fortunately, the results showed that only 5.5% of the samples were positive to equine. Horsemeat is as nutritious a beef, and has the advantage of being a lean meat, thus less saturated fatty acids, less probability of cardiovascular problems, although, the key point is the fraud to the consumer.   

Keywords: DNA identification, meat substitution