Pork Dressed Up as Beef; Dye Causes Health Concerns

The latest food scandal to hit Slovakia involving dyed pork being sold off as beef from Hungary has caused additional concern as the red dye being used to disguise the pork is of an unknown synthetic origin.

Illustrative photograph

Several companies in Slovakia came forward with stocks of the dodgy meat after the scam was disclosed, and the Slovak authorities can still not say whether the meat is hazardous to health or not.

The scam was discovered after Slovak company Hermes Classic sent samples of the meat it had bought to the State Food and Veterinary Authority after a pool of red water appeared when the meat was defrosted. Unfortunately for the company, it had purchased over 420 kg of the prohibited meat.

The Slovak company that has been importing and selling the fake beef doesn’t officially exist and has all but vanished into thin air. The company premises are empty, the gates locked and it was never even formally registered, so finding the culprits might prove difficult.

There is no way of knowing how much of the coloured pork has made it onto the plates of unsuspecting diners in restaurants, and there are concerns that anyone with stocks of the meat will still try to pass it onto consumers to avoid financial losses.

The Hungarian scam meat from a scam company is yet another case of hazardous food products making it onto the Slovak market from its neighbours with no regard for human health. Most recently, other cases include motorway salt being used in food products and thousands of non-refrigerated salmonella-carrying eggs (from Poland), blue cheese containing listeria and the deadly case of methanol in alcohol from the Czech Republic, which left 29 people dead and led to a nationwide ban on sales of alcohol over 40%.


  1. I have never had to consider where my food comes from or the freshness of the product until I moved to Europe. I adjusted, know the places to stay away from and what food to just do without in Europe. Is this how Western culture should deal with Europe…YES! You all deal with some of the worst meat produce I have ever seen. Every cut of meat looks the same, has a different lable, but is all the worst cut of meat they can produce. Try to ask a “Butcher” to produce a NY strip steak, or a Delmonico… GOOD LUCK! All they know is chop chop chop chop! If it isn’t going to be “Resin” then just chew harder! I would like to see what meat is exported opposed to that imported. In most countries, if you produce it at home, then don’t import it! Import what you cannot get here, export what is not being utilized or is in excess. I support local farmers and would love to see a store opened for all local procuce… not just vegetables, but meat, milk produce, and home grown Slovak goodness… suppose the winters will be hard to manage and thus importing is necessary, but can be better watched if lower rates hit the shelves!

    1. Does anyone understand what Cowpat is rattling on about ?

      You think American meat is better then Cowpat?

      Geezzz ???

      1. BOY George!!! YES…American meat is better, by far!! COW is what doesn’t exist in Europe! You guys don’t understand how to produce a good piece of meat for the life of you!
        Gay George probably eats only chicken…which it the filthiest animal I have ever encountered!
        Gorgeous George must always insult, but can’t produce a single thing to read besides his aniti white antagonistic views of a “colored” person living in a mostly white populated central Europe.

        1. Actually Cowpat, I eat mostly fresh sea fish caught by rod from a boat . eating to much red meat turns you madandbonkers, as you can well testify of course, having perhaps eaten more cow than Desperate Dan.

          I have the fish specially imported from Holland, via my dutch fisherman friend and DHL . Try find anything other than yuk carp, or that awful Alaska frozen crap, that should be used as king crab bait. Have you ever had the misfortune to have that white flesh sea fish that has the feel and look of chicken, name starts with P ??? My god what I would not give for decent Fishmonger ?

          1. It would be a great service to have a good fishmonger here in Bratislava… I would love to get a good Filet of anything that has some sort of taste and doesn’t turn to mush when you cook it! Considering I eat very little “Red Meat” and enjoy a steak here and there doesn’t make me “CRAZY”, I don’t get your low blows! It would be nice to see a Sushi restraunt that could make a good roll or something that looked and tasted fresh! If your friend imports you fish from Holland, perhaps you could become the Mongler? Then again, the only fish the Sk’s know how to prepare must swim in your bathtub for a few days (hence the smell of people around Christmas) and then soaked in Milk to get rid of the murky, muddy, morbid smell of the meat if you don’t! I have to say you are correct on this one thing! I still think that the whole supermarket business in Slovakia is just selling eveything they couldn’t sell the week prior in Western Shops…. SAD! Please stop- calling me COWPAT, it is just stupid…considering it is COW PATTY… I’m not stupid, and I am certainly not ever going to respect you for your comments if you refer to everyone in such a childish manor. I know you feel better by bewidering some, but come on…it is just getting boring and we now consider you as just another import that should have been rejected at customs!

          2. Fresh fish in Vienna http://www.eishken.at/
            or in Slovakia you can get a choice of seafood (mostly frozen) from the cash and carry Metro

  2. ….. totally agree regarding the meat quality being offered… and the lack of public stance or demands to ensure high quality control and state testing facilities …(to the best of my knowledge anyway) …………………………… what is more scary / important is that those who are purchasing these low priced meats are more often than not those with young children because of low incomes …. and that is just not healthy rather the equivalent of feeding a child a small dose of poison every day….

    The consequences health wise deserves heightened public awareness, to minimise any risks…. and compliments to the editor for its inclusion here! .

    …personally I will only give my children what is locally sourced from small animal breeders, and am totally satisfied with it so I know there is great quality meat available … even though there is a little too much pork in the butchers . More frustratingly though the search s a little more complicated than in some western European countries. The quality of meat supplied to any major food ware house anywhere is not and can not be healthy… and that logic is the same everywhere just some countries have a tighter level of quality control but sometimes even that takes time…. example feeding salmon chemically dyed red fish food to give them pinker meat possibly still goes on in most places!

    While the Slovak government should pay more attention to the CAP, and the waste of agricultural land is sad I am not going to put on a pair of wellies and go out and start farming!!!!!

  3. Slimsedg – Spot on with your comment. It just highlights how little effort has been made by those inpower to protect the population – too busy finding cushy jobs for their mates rather than adopt policies and legislation to control the food production and retail industries. Tesco Sk is a disgrace and that is why I will not shop there.
    The issue of foriegn produced food flooding the markets here is both valid and intriguing. Do I assume that the Tatra Tiger in its’ rush to attract more industry has ignored the agricultural sector? It seems that way, everwhere around here there are acres upon acres of uncultivated land, what little lamb is produced goes for export, local dairies have closed because of the lack of investment and there seems to be scant diversification into high value “new farming” such as venison, wild boar etc and crops that do well in the Sk climate such as soft fruit, apples etc don’t appear to be grown on any real scale. The CAP funds don’t appear to have been spent at all here in the east so its no wonder the shops are full of food being “dumped” by the rest of the EU.

  4. ~~~I will not shop in the supermarket I refer to, I prefer to support my local small traders who actually offer better produce often at a lower price. and the customer service is better. ~~~


  5. Can someone please explain to me how anyone can establish a company trading in food products with no checks, monitoring etc and then just disappear when the crap hits the fan. No business registration documentation, no health and hygiene inspections, no details on the property lease agreement, no police records of vehicles registered to the company, what about info from insurance companies – don’t tell me, they were not insured. Sorry I just don’t understand how this can happen. Something needs to be done, quickly, these cowboys could be the cause of a huge body count through their criminal actions and the chances are it will be the very young and very old who would die first.

  6. I read with interest , PM Robert Fico has denied reports that he could replace current European Commission President, Jose Barroso.

    He said “I don’t want to leave Slovakia… I want to walk the dog along the Danube, I want to catch fish… Everything I meet is so artificial (in the European structures) .”

    What did he know about this Pork, the rest of us obviously did not ?

  7. Gosh what about all those poor kids being taken away from their Slowvak parents ? Could we not mention that as well in this story …..ie bad, coloured dyed meat, …..cause and effect etc . ??? Cowpat could take the meat investigative test??

    Just stick it in a goulash, load with red paprika, cook for hours and boil all the meat taste out, have a few bottles of Slivvie and no one east of Nitra will even notice .

  8. Which left 29 people dead in the Czech republic, NOT in Slovakia, fortunately.

    I don’t understand – the company wasn’t registered so it never existed, didn’t it?

    Just read a survey on SME – 71% readers believe SVK products are better than foreign, 29% think it’s only a myth that SVK products are of better quality than foreign.

    1. I meant fortunately for the SVKs.

    2. An interesting survey but I would be interested in the demographics of the sample. Newspaper polls here seem to be conducted by the office junior talking to people who happen to be walking past the office in BA. What people believe is not necessarily reflected in their actual purchases. Slovak shoppers are becoming increasingly canny where and how they spend their ever reducing disposable income and I don’t think the country of origin is a guiding factor. Having witnessed a number of “feeding frenzies” at the local Tesco when something (anything) is offered cheap and the shoppers are more bothered about how much they can cram into their trollies than the details on, or the product in, the package. This is not unique to the Sk, shoppers the world over will buy anything if its cheap. What these recent stories expose is the lack of checks and controls with regard to “food products” and it appears the criminal element have noticed it too. There are people who have a total disregard for public health and obviously don’t care who becomes ill or dies as a result of their actions so long as they can make money and stand a good chance of getting away with it. It strikes me that the entire food supply chain needs to be more tightly regulated and that legislation and effective enforcement are required.

      1. In general people are caucious when it comes to meat and diary products.

        The supermarkets with worse reputation, or their managers, would be called responsible for their mistakes.
        The due pay is from 3 to 6 months so selling health risk products will for sure result in a financial lost.

        The supermarket with the best reputation is LIDL in my opinion.

        1. Loggie – I agree, shoppers are generally more selective when it comes to meat and diary and it is good that many retailers are now promoting Sk produce but there should be more of this. “Home” grown produce is easier to monitor and the “Buy Slovak” campaign will help local producers and the agricultural industry. I am always suprised to see the local multi-national stores selling imported produce (fruit and vegs) when a visit to our local open market or farmers market offers shoppers far superior and cheaper locally grown produce.
          Fully agree that the supermarkets should held to account but, and I take a well known, British owned chain as an example, they have been caught with out of date produce that has been repackaged, produce with false country of origin labels, products with illegal additives and storing foods at the incorrect temperature yet I have seen nothing in the press about massive fines being imposed. The press could do the country a service here and “out” these incidents and keep them in the publics’ mind. If the courts won’t hit these companies in the pocket then the shoppers should. I will not shop in the supermarket I refer to, I prefer to support my local small traders who actually offer better produce often at a lower price. and the customer service is better.
          LIDL – Agree again, seen by many as the lower end of the market, they actually have a higher rating than many of the up market retailers with regard to value, quality and standards.

          1. In my opinion the quality of food products in the supermarkets is OK. The Ministry of Agriculture especially of this government has officially waged war on all the supermarkets and hypermarkets and have been criticizing them openly. Last time in July this year
            acusing them of “making a sewer out of Slovakia”. Billa and Lidl was actually criticized the most.

            In their record they even criticized literally “dust on the shelves”.

            I don’t know about the high fines but thinking that that’s not the main goal. The supermarkets can rise the prices or do some obstructions for new producers to enter the supermarket market.
            Naming the supermarkets in their press conferences punishes them enough.

            Out of date products make 0,0005% of all sold products, according to the ministry.

          2. Good comments, but i feel supermarkets here operate double standards to their western chains. Have you ever noticed how a lot of products are sold only in the old eastern block! look on the ingredients and you will see why… Cheap and nasty crap, that is even banned in some western countries, hydrogenated/hardened vegetable fat (stužený rastlinný tuk in sk), for example. Banned in Switzerland, Denmark, voluntary ban in u.k (tesco & lidl included) a veritable metabolic poison. Yet here the stick it cakes, biscuits, kids snack bars, stock cubes, chocolates you name it, and then they fry your schnitzel and chips in it. Almost half the crap made in Poland has it.
            The supermarket can feed half the population sh*t, and no news editor here will risk loosing his advertising revenue….

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