Horsemeat scandal spreads

2013-02-10 19:22
Horse.

Horse. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Paris - The Europe-wide scandal over horsemeat sold as beef spread on Sunday as leading French retailers pulled products from their shelves and France promised to have the results of an inquiry within days.

As the Nordic branch of frozen food giant Findus said it planned to sue a French producer and its suppliers over the scandal, Britain ruled out imposing a ban on importing meat from EU countries despite a call from a senior lawmaker.

Several ranges of prepared food have been withdrawn in Britain, France and Sweden after it emerged that frozen food companies had been using horsemeat instead of beef in making lasagnes and other pasta dishes, shepherd's pies and moussakas.

Highlighting the complexity of European food supply chains, the meat has been traced back from France through Cyprus and the Netherlands to Romanian abattoirs. Romanian officials have also announced an urgent inquiry.

French retailers Auchan, Casino, Carrefour, Cora, Monoprix and Picard announced on Sunday they were withdrawing products provided by Findus and French producer Comigel over the horsemeat concerns.

The retailers said the withdrawal was the result of "labelling non-compliance in regards to the nature of the meat" in the products.

Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said French authorities would have the preliminary results of their inquiry into the scandal by Wednesday.

Hamon also told Le Parisien newspaper that the authorities "will not hesitate" to take legal action if there is evidence that companies were knowingly duping consumers.

Findus has said it will lodge a legal complaint in France after evidence showed the presence of horsemeat in its supply chain "was not accidental" and its Nordic branch said on Sunday it planned to sue Comigel and its suppliers.

Unacceptable

"This is a breach of contract and fraud," said the head of Findus Nordic, Jari Latvanen.

"Such behaviour on the part of a supplier is unacceptable," he added, saying the meat in its products was supposed to be beef of French, German or Austrian origin.

In Britain, where tests found that some frozen ready meals produced in mainland Europe and labelled as processed beef actually contained up to 100% horsemeat, food minister Owen Paterson dismissed calls for a ban on EU meat imports.

"Arbitrary measures like that are not actually going to help. Firstly we are bound by the rules of the European market," he said on Sky News television, describing the idea as a "panic measure".

But he warned that the government would not hesitate to impose a ban if public health was at risk.

"Should this move from an issue of labelling and fraud and there is evidence of material which represents a serious threat to human health, I won't hesitate to take action," Paterson said.

Paterson said he feared there could be a "criminal conspiracy" afoot, while the British press was full of lurid speculation that organised crime groups were at the root of the scandal.

Anne McIntosh, the head of the British parliament's food affairs scrutiny panel, had called for the ban, saying a moratorium was needed until "we can trace the source of the contamination and until we can establish whether there has been fraud".

The scandal has had particular resonance in Britain, where eating horsemeat is considered taboo. British authorities have also said they are testing to see whether the horsemeat contains a veterinary drug that can be dangerous to humans.

Romanian

The Findus meals were assembled by Comigel using meat that was provided by Spanghero, a meat-processing company also based in France. Comigel supplies products to companies in 16 European countries.

Spanghero in turn is said to have obtained the meat from Romania via a Cypriot dealer who had subcontracted the deal to a trader in The Netherlands.

A Romanian food industry official pointed the finger of blame at the French importer, saying it was up to that company to verify the quality of the meat.

Hamon defended France's food safety checks, saying the system relies on producers and importers to properly identify their meat.

"I can't put an official behind every piece of meat," Hamon said.

He also took a sideswipe at Britain for seeking cuts in the European Union budget, saying reduced spending would affect food safety checks.

"The British are just returning from Brussels where they defended a liberal budget that tends to reduce food safety checks," he said.

Read more on:    romania  |  uk  |  france  |  health  |  horsemeat scandal  |  meat scandal
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.