U.S. Department of Agriculture: ‘What Horse Meat Scandal?’

Today brings news that the global horse meat scandal has now touched everyone’s favorite provider of midnight Texican takeout, Taco Bell.

Frankly, we’re more interested in this story: despite all the hemming and hawing about fast food customers eating “trace amounts” or horse in the UK, it turns out that certain folks right here in America were perfectly fine with distributing equine meat up until 2006–and producers may be able to sell it in America again very soon by forcing the hand of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A New Mexico plant operated by the Valley Meat Company sued the FDA last year, claiming that the government’s seeming refusal to inspect horses for slaughter after the practice entered legal limbo in 2006 forced it to close its operations and ship the doomed horses to Canada and Mexico. Strangely, some advocates claim that this federal inaction led to declining living standards for horses in the U.S.

It’s all very confusing, but we do have a point: the next time the public freaks out about a food-related scandal and demands immediate damage control, we may want to think about what’s happening right under our own noses.