I'm going to preface this post by stating emphatically that I like bistecca di cavallo as much as the next guy. That being said, knowing what I'm eating is important to me, so I've been following the European horse meat scandal pretty closely. It seems that one of the problems leading to the meat mixup is sourcing ground meat from multiple points of origin, as part of a Byzantine supply chain:
Some of the beef products sold in Britain went through five different suppliers in four countries before landing on supermarket shelves. The beef ingredient in just one frozen meal made by food giant Findus travelled through a processor in France, which bought it from a trader in Cyprus, who used a trader in the Netherlands who received it from two butchers in Romania.
In other cases meat from two slaughterhouses in Poland, where cattle and horses were slaughtered, followed a similar winding path through factories in France and Luxembourg and then on to grocery stores in Britain and Ireland. While the EU has strict rules about food labelling, enforcement is weak and penalties for mislabelling are considered light.
In many cases the food companies involved said they had no idea where the meat originated and most are now suing their suppliers who are suing their subcontractors.
This multi-mile meat meandering is a great argument for the locavore movement... it's always good to get to know the person who is handling your meat. At a minimum, I'd settle for accurate labeling of meat and meat by-products.
At any rate, the admixture of horsemeat with ground meat which was sold as beef was caught by Irish food inspectors who tested random samples of ground beef for the presence of equine adulterants. Here in the States, the budget sequestration could cause government meat inspectors to be furloughed. Basically, the "watchdogs" will be removed from the meat-packing plants, but there's no need to worry about the adulteration of meat products because the meat industry in the U.S. is on the level.