TODAY

TODAY   |  February 21, 2013

Horse meat scandal widens in Europe

From lasagna and burgers to children’s sweets containing gelatin, horse meat has been discovered in a wide variety of “beef” products, leaving Europeans to wonder what they’re really eating. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> reveal they were told of these concerns a year ago. keir simmons is in london with more. good morning.

>> hey, david. good morning. this story is about a very simple question. do you know what you're putting on your plate or even your children's plate? today, we learned some schools have withdrawn it from their menu as hor meat widened.

>> reporter: horse meat has been turning up in food across europe. lasagna, and being tested for dna. i would be very surprised if we don't find more instances of gross contamination.

>> reporter: the scandal has many wondering what they're eating many turning to traditional butchers. this couple from new york now live in the uk . they say people are shocked.

>> they buy dinner and turns out it's horse.

>> reporter: one fear horses in the food chain injected with a painkiller called bute unfit for human consumption.

>> to find out afterwards it's an entirely different animal literally and you have no idea what that will do to your health, scary nor any to think about.

>> reporter: scary still for complex traders and subsidiaries with just one beef product and going from france, luxembourg, france, and romania, and traveling back to the uk, hard to trace. traditional butchers say the cheap meat is to blame.

>> if somebody wants to pay $2 for lasagna, at the end of the day , you get what you pay for.

>> reporter: there's no suggestion yet horse meat labelled as beef has reached the u.s. but the struggle for everyone is to be sure the meat you're buying is what the label says it i is.

>> that butcher is the type that knows everyone's name and customers trust him a local store. the problem is that kind of service can cost you more and when you're trying to feed a family, every dollar counts.

>> kiir simmons, thanks.