Amazon Might Be Selling Donkey Meat In Dietary Supplements

Unclear wording and lack of transparency can pose an issue for those without an extensive knowledge of scientific food definitions — in order words, most of us. Whether it's a question of ethics or health, the American Medical Association implemented a policy in 2018 calling for relatable wording on food labeling, especially for those with diabetes, heart disease, and other medical concerns.

It can't always be that simple at a restaurant, though, as it typically takes a bit more research to learn what's in a meal's ingredients. In the United Kingdom, horse DNA was found in beef products sold by Taco Bell. Notably, it affected the ground beef used in many of the brand's items. "We immediately withdrew it from sale, and discontinued purchase of that meat and contacted the Food Standards Agency with this information," an apology from Taco Bell said in part. To be cautious, McDonald's also tested its beef, which came up negative for the DNA.

Recently, an Amazon customer claimed that similarly unclear labeling tactics were used on a dietary supplement purchased from the site — and the product may include donkey meat, according to a WIRED report.

The sale of donkey meat might be illegal

An unfamiliar ingredient listed on Artemisia Anti-Hemorrhage Formula supplements likely caused one Amazon customer to unknowingly break her vegetarian lifestyle, according to a lawsuit. The product, which claims to be made of natural herbs, includes an ingredient called gelatina nigra, the suit alleges. The customer, named Cindy, researched what she was consuming and says she learned that gelatina nigra is another term for donkey-hide gelatin, which is made from donkey skin (per WIRED). 

Not only are there reportedly unethical practices around obtaining the ingredient, it could also be illegal to sell in at least one state. According to California's Prohibition of Horse Slaughter and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption Act, horses are banned from sale for consumption. Because of this, the Center for Contemporary Equine Studies argues that donkeys are included as part of the equine family, and may be pursing legal action.

When Reddit users learned of the incident, they weren't too surprised. "Amazon has a consequences problem: There aren't any," one commenter spoke out. Another person called out the dietary industry as a whole, writing, "The world has a shady supplement problem." Fair or not, it's a good reminder for everyone to thoroughly check the listed ingredients when purchasing a product online.