Conflict & Justice

South Africa Meat Snack Biltong Blatantly Mislabeled


Sliced beef biltong. (Photo: Delia du Plessis/Wikipedia)

Thursday's Geo Quiz involves a popular South African snack food.

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We are looking for the name of one of South Africa's most popular snack foods — a variety of beef jerky. Spicy strips of meat, trimmed off fat, sliced into thin strips and then dried.

And we are asking this in our Geo Quiz because a South African food scientist has turned a microscope on this beef snack and what she found is not pretty.

Bitlong is the answer to the quiz. Bitlongs are spicy strips of meat and come in a variety of flavors. The affordable snack is sold at street markets and food stands.

Maria Eugenia D'Amato, a geneticist at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, tested hundreds of samples of biltong and found that a lot of jerky is blatantly mislabeled.

She found giraffe and horse meat labeled as gazelle or antelope meat and imported kangaroo meat labeled as ostrich.

D'Amato says even she was rattled to discover traces of the Cape Mountain Zebra in biltong.

A report is expected in a few months, and for her part, D'Amato is thinking twice about snacking on biltong.

Anchor Marco Werman talks to D'Amato to get more details on the subject.