News 11 Feb 13

Romania Pledges Probe into Horse Meat Scandal

As the uproar grows over the discovery that 'Findus' lasagnes were full of horse meat, Romania promises to investigate the apparent connection to its abattoirs.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said on Sunday that the government had tasked sanitary authorities with reporting on whether Romanian slaughterhouses had supplied horse meat for export instead of beef. "We will punish any violations if the reports are confirmed,” the minister said.

Constantin’s statement came after horse meat was detected in beef food products sold in France and Britain by the food giant, Findus.

In some cases, products sold as frozen lasagne, and supposedly made of beef, were in fact 100 per cent horse meat in terms of their meat content.

Findus said abbatoirs from Romania were part of the supply chain that had resulted in horse meat being marketed as beef.

While the government is clearly embarrassed by the scandal, the Romanian food industry has already denied French claims that horsemeat found in beef products came from its abattoirs.

Food experts say the consumption of horse meat poses no threat to human health. But many consumers in countries where horse is not considered fit for humans clearly feel angry and deceived.

At the same time the scandal has revealed the complexity of the pan-European chain of meat suppliers and traders, in turn raising questions about quality control.

In the light of the scandal, Anne McIntosh, chairwoman of the British parliamentary food and rural affairs committee, has called for a temporary ban on all processed or frozen meat imports to the UK from the European Union.

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