Donkey meat, though “disgusting”, is perfectly safe to consume, according to the head of the Egyptian Food Safety Authority, as food prices continue to rocket and grocery bills mount up.
And cooked to the proper temperature – whatever that is.
The statement is the latest twist in an ongoing food scandal in Egypt, as fears grow that donkey meat has been passed off as beef to unsuspecting shoppers.
“Donkey meat is exactly the same as any other meat,” Hussein Mansour told an Egyptian TV channel. “It is only harmful if it is slaughtered using unhygienic methods – but it is disgusting, and some religions do not allow its consumption.”
The official attempted to downplay public fears, saying the beast of burden – as well as dog meat – had long been eaten by blissfully unaware Egyptians.
“If you’ve eaten donkey by mistake, have no fears, nothing will happen,” said Mansour.
“Two scientific studies have shown that donkey and dog meat have been sold in minced meat and ready-made sandwiches for ages. It looks and tastes just like any other meat – even I can’t tell the difference.”
Local news reported last week that Egyptian police raided a farm in Fayoum, which was found to be raising donkeys for human consumption. A drove of 1,500 live and 30 slaughtered donkeys were reportedly seized from the farm.
The owner of the donkey farm, reportedly still in police custody, claims the animals were being raised to feed lions in circuses around Cairo.