France jumps into horsemeat scandal

2013-02-17 20:43

Paris - France on Sunday said there were solid reasons to believe that meat processing firm Spanghero had passed off horsemeat in meals labelled beef, but insisted that unwitting workers should not be penalised.

The government said it was meeting with representatives of the 300-odd workers on Monday.

The sanitary licence of the Spanghero plant was temporarily revoked last week.

"The government distinguishes responsibility for what seems to be the actions of Spanghero's leaders from the work of its employees," the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

It added however that there was "serious, precise and corroborating evidence of consumer fraud at a European level."

The government on Thursday presented the results of its initial investigation that said Spanghero had knowingly sold 750 tons of horsemeat mislabelled as beef over a period of six months.

Of this, 500 tons were sent to French firm Comigel, which makes frozen meals at its Tavola subsidiary in Luxembourg.

That meat was used to make 4.5 million products that were sold by Comigel to 28 different companies in 13 European countries, said the findings released by the DGCCRF anti-fraud office.

Spanghero's licence to handle meat was suspended pending further investigations.

Monday's meeting between the workers, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll and Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon is aimed at determining how employees will be paid until the plant can re-open.

"We will tell the ministers to immediately restore the sanitary licence for our meals and sausages which do not contain beef at all," said Claude Hill from the CFDT trade union.



  • rory.n.price - 2013-02-17 21:12

    Strange for a Nation that would anything from dog doo do, the wont eat horse meat

      andynct - 2013-02-18 08:12

      Talking about the French or the British? The French eat a lot of horse meat. You can find it at the best restaurants. Apparently it is sweeter and better than beef. Just the Brits and their ex-colonies that are silly about it.

      mo.matt.14 - 2013-02-18 08:39

      Frogs are okay. Horses are not LOL

  • dwala.emaweni - 2013-02-17 21:16

    all animals ar edible. Dey just need proper cooking

      mo.matt.14 - 2013-02-18 08:39

      Even humans hey?

  • tlotlo.phele - 2013-02-17 21:20

    They stoop low

  • debinikita - 2013-02-17 22:16

    It's not about eating horse meat.. It's about lying and committing fraud to us, the consumers.. We have been lied too.. And another factor is the hormones and steroids which are injected into these animals during their prime.. All that stuff is now in the food chain- our food chain.. How many years have we been eating take-away or frozen TV dinners labeled beef when it fact it could have been dog, cat, rat and horse meat and have all those steroids such as BUTE.. (Veterinarian painkiller). It's a bloody disgrace that as the consumer we have had the wool pulled over our eyes.. Some high and mighty person is raking in all the big bucks at our expense.. 'Cos we are the bloody fools.. Yet again!!!!!!'

      eish.eish.5 - 2013-02-17 23:07

      Just a question, but whats the difference in price between horse and beef? And what quantities are we talking about?

  • diana.gill.18 - 2013-02-18 08:56

    Why they continue making big stink out of nothing? The most important is the meat was not contaminated, didn't come from a sick animal and passed all sanitary tests. Its much tastier, leaner and healthier than beef. Who would complain if someones sells you a BMW at a price of lets say Ford?

  • Jason Lok - 2013-02-18 11:33

    Hey the frenchies, what did they get in Mali, spoils of war-----HORSES...

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