European Horsemeat Scandal Continues

Horsemeat discoveries in Europe are continuing two months into the scandal, while French authorities are finding more supply chains involved in faulty meat distribution, according to various sources.

Home furnishing giant Ikea pulled meatballs from its in-store restaurants in 14 European countries after one batch was found to contain traces of horsemeat, the New York Times reported; Ikea insists that the meatballs in its U.S. stores do not contain horsemeat because they are supplied by U.S. meathouses only. There are currently no horse slaughter facilities functioning in the United States.

Other European supermarket chains are uncovering more processed meat products that contain horsemeat as their DNA testing continues, including the U.K.’s Tesco and Asda, according to BBC News. In late February, Switzerland-based Nestlé recalled meat products marketed under the Buitoni brand in Spain and Italy, according to Some African grocery stores furnished by French suppliers have also pulled frozen meat products from their shelves, the Senegalese news source reported.

Meanwhile France’s ministry of consumer affairs has traced the horsemeat scandal back to four more supply chains after their original discovery of meat swapping at food manufacturer Spanghero’s processing plant, according to the consumer affairs minister during a European press conference in Strasbourg last week.

“We have identified four new supply chains (involved in the scandal), and it’s possible that there are more,” said Benoit Harmon at the conference. However, his intelligence suggested that the suppliers themselves were unaware of the fraud and that the fault probably lay higher in the supply chain with foreign traders, he said.

Two of these suppliers—Covi and Gel Alpes—had already announced they'd found horsemeat in their products when they ran their own DNA tests independently, according to My TFI, a French online news source. Over 700,000 pounds of raw, frozen horsemeat and beef recently imported into France by Gel Alps is currently in holding, pending further analysis, reported.

The French government has allowed the Spanghero plant—the first supply source discovered in the scandal—to resume activities, according to various French news sources. It has also authorized the redistribution of the seized prepared meals to associations that feed homeless and underprivileged individuals.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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