16 nations warned over horse meat

AFP-JIJI

France and Britain called Monday for the “criminals” who disguised horse meat as beef to be tracked down, as Romania angrily denied it was to blame for the frozen food scandal spreading across Europe.

The controversy was growing quickly in scope, with British Food Minister Owen Paterson saying he believes warnings have been sent out to 16 different countries that might be affected, and Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney calling an EU meeting in Brussels to address the matter.

French President Francois Hollande said there had been “unacceptable behavior” and called for those responsible to be prosecuted. He also advised the French to eat only meat from France.

Supermarket chains in Britain, France and Sweden have removed from their shelves packs of lasagna, other pasta dishes, shepherd’s pies and moussaka after it emerged that frozen food companies had used horse meat instead of beef.

British supermarkets were the first to pull the products last week after French firm Comigel warned that the beef it supplied to the Findus frozen food giant — which sold its ready-to-eat meals to supermarkets — was suspect.

Comigel said it got its meat from another French firm, Spanghero, which said it was supplied from two slaughterhouses in Romania who allegedly passed horse meat off as beef.