European horse-meat scandal hits Asia

AFP-JIJI

The fallout from Europe’s horse-meat scandal has spread far outside the continent, with an imported lasagne brand pulled from shelves in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

A host of top players have been caught up in the spiraling scandal, including Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, top beef producer JBS of Brazil and British supermarket giant Tesco.

Hong Kong authorities ordered ParknShop, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the city, to remove lasagne made by frozen food company Findus, one of the firms at the center of the scandal. The product was imported from Britain and made by French firm Comigel.

Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety said Wednesday that the item “might be adulterated with horse-meat which has not undergone tests for veterinary drugs.”

The chain, owned by tycoon Li Ka-shing, has around 280 stores in Hong Kong and the neighboring gaming hub of Macau.

In Europe, meanwhile, the Czech Republic became the latest country embroiled in the horse-meat affair, with food inspectors ordering Tesco to withdraw Nowaco brand frozen “beef” lasagne after detecting horse-meat.

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority said it had found horse DNA in two samples of the Nowaco meals manufactured by the Tavola company in Luxembourg.