Oh neigh: illegal racehorse meat found in favourite Dutch snack food

Hold your horses before you bite 🤮

You might have been willing to ignore what exactly is inside your favourite fried Dutch snacks on account of their deliciousness, but now that fairytale (or should we say ponytail) is over.

That’s because new research reveals that meat from discarded British and Irish racehorses is ending up illegally inside our bitterballen and kroketten, nu.nl reports.

We’re not supposed to be eating that meat (to state the obvious) because it might include traces of the horses’ medication from their racing injuries.

Our stomachs are already turning… 😫

Putting the ‘mare’ in nightmare

How do the racehorses end up inside your bitterballen, you ask? Well, first, they start losing, get injured, or are simply too expensive to care for.

Then, they are transported to the Netherlands and Belgium under appalling conditions so that they can receive a new identity, animal protection organisation House of Animals tells nu.nl.

READ MORE | Veganism in the Netherlands: here’s why it’s achievable

Traders then give the former racehorses a new chip and fake passport before taking them to slaughterhouses (such as Kerkdriel) in the Netherlands.

So, their ‘new identity’ = bitterbal or kroket meat.

The discarded racehorse meat is processed into the crunchy, slimy, salty snacks, and it’s more common than you might think. 😬

Not the first warning

Is the name Kerkdriel ringing some bells (and not just the alarm kind)? It’s not the first time their meat has been examined under a microscope.

A European food warning was previously issued in 2022 for meat coming from Kerkdriel because it should never have made it onto the snackbar shelves.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #32: Eat a lot of very questionable snack food

House of Animals’ founder Karen Soeters finds it “inconceivable” that the Netherlands is still “a spider in the web for animal suffering.”

Her foundation wants the slaughterhouse in Kerkdriel to be closed for good.

So next time a friend braves the bitterballen after a few drinks, make sure to warn them properly: “Careful, it’s hot… and may contain racehorses.”

Are you surprised to find out what’s inside bitterballen and kroketten? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image:DutchReview / Canva
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills — she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.
  1. Wat een flauwekul, ben opgegroeid met paarden vlees. We konden zoals zovelen niets anders veroorloven. niks mis mee hoor.

  2. Stelletje idioten als het maar lekker smaakt? Je wordt in de maling genomen. Daarna janken over spier ziektes ra ra ra vlees vol met steroïden.


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