The traces of horse meat found in some burger products in the UK that I reported on earlier has nothing on what’s being discovered now the disinfecting power of sunlight is being applied to the rot that’s moving through the European processed meat industry.
Worst one, so far, are ready to eat meals labeled to contain only beef, that have been found to contain 100% horse meat instead.
The Europe-wide scandal over horse meat sold as beef spread Sunday as leading French retailers pulled products from their shelves and threats of legal action flew.
France promised the results of an urgent inquiry into the scandal within days and the government announced crisis talks with meat industry representatives on Monday night.
As Britain dismissed calls for a ban on EU meat, producers and distributors insisted they had been deceived about the true nature of the meat and vowed to take legal action.
Several ranges of prepared food have been withdrawn in Britain, France and Sweden after it emerged that frozen food companies had been using horse meat instead of beef in their lasagne and other pasta dishes, as well as shepherd’s pies and moussakas.
As processed meat products are exported and labelled as containing beef, it is now somewhat doubtful we can believe what’s on the label.
I wonder if some of this scandal will come to us via imported meat products?
This story started in the UK, and there the politicians are trying to put a lid on this
U.K. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said “criminal substitution” was probably to blame for horse meat discovered in packaged meals meant to contain beef.
“It looks as if the problem is limited to processed beef,” Paterson said in an interview on BBC television yesterday. “It looks as if there has been criminal substitution of beef with horse. There may be further bad news this week. I do not know how far this incompetence or criminal activity extends.”
Paterson said that under European Union rules, the U.K. can only ban food imports if there is a threat to human health. The U.K. Food Standards Agency has asked Findus Group Ltd., which has found horse meat in some of its frozen products, to test for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, known as “bute,” which in large doses may pose a risk to humans.
Somehow I don’t think this story has ended just yet. We should expect most other EC countries to start their own testing.
I’m sure there are a few New Zealand importers of processed “beef” products that may want to front-foot this themselves.