The untold story of the Ikea meatball scandal is that Swedes love horse meat

It's tough to stomach, but Ikea is the latest big-name food maker to be felled by the no-it-isn't-beef-it's-horse-meat-scandal that is quickly spreading across Europe. Czech authorities alerted the discount furniture maker that they had found horsemeat in a sample of meatballs, and Ikea subsequently pulled the product from stores in 14 countries.

Ikea is of course outraged and put out a strongly worded statement promising that the company would get to the bottom of how the tainted Swedish staple turned up in stores. "We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories," the company said.

The untold story in all of this is that Swedes love horse meat. Marketed under the name hamburgerkött -- that's right, "hamburger meat" -- Swedes put the stuff on toast, sandwiches, and the like. Consider, for example, Pärsons' (slogan: "Sandwich joy for the whole family!") version of hamburgerkött. They lead with the euphemistic name on the package, but a quick peek at the ingredients tells the real story -- hästkött, or horse meat.

Curious where the horses are sourced from? South America.



Predictable Argo win at Oscars causes predictable Iranian outrage

Last night, Argo, Ben Affleck's account of the Iranian hostage situation, surprised few when it claimed the Academy Award for best picture. Also unsurprising was the reaction of Iranian media.

The film, which looks at Hollywood's role in helping smuggle six hostages out of Iran amidst the fraught 1979 revolution, has garnered intense criticism from the country for its negative portrayal of Iranians. The Iranian government even organized a conference to discuss the ideology behind films like Argo, and their use in promoting an anti-Iranian, Islamophobic agenda. And when Michelle Obama presented the Oscar via live feed from the White House, this seemed to confirm the worst fears for many in the Iranian media.

In addition to using photo-shop to cover the first lady's shoulders, the Revolutionary Guard affiliated, Fars news agency, wrote of her appearance:

In a rare occasion in Oscar history, the First Lady announced the winner for Best Picture for the anti-Iran Film ‘Argo,' which is produced by the Zionist company Warner Bros.

Mehr News dubbed the award the "most political Oscar" saying, "the anti-Iranian movie ‘Argo', the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, unveiled the bare politicization in Hollywood."

Meanwhile Iran's state TV called the whole thing an "advertisement for the CIA."

In his acceptance speech, Affleck included a couple of shout outs to the frustrated nation:

I want to thank our friends in Iran living in terrible circumstances right now. I want to thank my wife who I don't usually associate with Iran.

Not the most diplomatic of speeches, this prompted Mehr to further lament: "Ben Affleck continues to show a bleak picture of Iran: Iranians live in terrible circumstances.”

The state-owned, Press TV, went in a different direction. In a snub worthy of the Academy, they chose not to acknowledge the film at all in their coverage of the evening, making it seem, for those who wouldn't know better, that Life of Pi and Amour were the big winners of the night.

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