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Horsemeat fraud: regulatory aftermath

In this case, they are calling for “speedier action on introducing country-of-origin labelling for processed beef and other meat products” – or so says the loss-making Guardian, as if putting different labels on packs is somehow going to prevent fraudsters adulterating the food which goes into the packs.

Meanwhile, the sainty, law-abiding Danes have discovered that one of their own has been doing naughty things.

Hårby Slagtehus, a slaughterhouse in the Jutland town of Skanderborg, we are told, can expect to be reported to the police by the nation’s food authorities, Fødevarestyrelsen, after it sold packs of mixed meat without indicating which meat was part of the mix. The food authorities said that there could be horse, beef and ham mixed together in the packs.

Hårby Slagtehus maintained that the restaurants it supplied with meat were aware that the meat, which the slaughterhouse sold under the labels of ‘pizza meat’ (pizzakød) and ‘formed beefsteak’ (formede bøffer), could contain horsemeat.

Fødevarestyrelsen went to six customers of the slaughterhouse and all said they thought they were purchasing beef. A control team took a total of nine samples from the six restaurants and found traces of horse DNA in three of the tests, traces of pig DNA in one sample and a combination of horse and pig DNA in five of the samples.

But while the Danes are putting their hands up – albeit to minor infractions – the Poles are rejecting allegations that they are involved in the scams.

Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba claims that: “Poland is so far clean as a whistle. Poland is off the hook”, stating that nationwide inspections have failed to find existence of horse in beef products.

He also takes a pop a the Sunday Telegraph for claiming that “Polish authorities” suspect that horses are being used in a form of money laundering, noting that no official from Poland is quoted as saying so. Kalemba says that the original allegations coming from Ireland were “unfair” and that “there are at least a dozen countries in Europe and South America under suspicion” of adulterating beef with horse. 

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