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Meals recalled in horsemeat scandal

Major French supermarkets pull frozen food from shelves as horsemeat fraud is traced back to Romania

11 February 2013

SUPERMARKETS across France have withdrawn thousands of beef-based ready meals after it emerged that some of the products contained horsemeat.

Auchan, Casino, U, Monoprix and Picard are among the chains to have recalled the frozen lasagnes, canneloni, moussaka, spaghetti bolognaise and hachis parmentier products from food supplier Comigel, based in Metz.

The firm supplied freezer food to 16 European countries from a factory in Luxembourg. A French government inquiry has revealed that the meat used in the products came from Romania - via a complex supply chain involving the Netherlands and Cyprus.

The products were sold under the Findus and Spanghero brands, as well as supermarket own brands.

The government insists there is no threat to public health. Minister Benoît Hamon, who is responsible for consumer issues, said further details would be available when a review was completed on Wednesday.

He said he would not hesitate to take legal action if evidence emerged that the two French companies which handled the meat had been aware of the fraud. Findus says it has filed a legal complaint against persons unknown.

Veteran agricultural campaigner Jose Bové said a recently enforced law banning horses from Romanian roads may be to blame, saying "millions of animals have been sent to the slaughterhouse" as a result.

Meanwhile, British MP Anne McIntosh has called for a UK ban on meat imports from continental Europe pending a review.

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