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More sources of horse meat found

Consumer fraud squad identify four new companies in chevalgate scandal in France

TESTS in France have identified another four sources of the horse-meat that has been found in pre-cooked beef meals.

Consumer Minister Benoît Hamon said the consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF had carried out 140 tests on prepared meals from companies other than the already-identified Spanghero-Comigel, which was at the origin of the chevalgate scandal in France.

Two of the new companies, Covi and Gel Alpes who supply William Saurin and Panzani, were associated with Dutch firm Draap Trading – which has already been implicated as a source of the horse meat. The two others were Davigel (Nestlé) and corned-beef maker Toupnot, but the reports said they had very little horse meat contamination.

Hamon, who was speaking in Strasbourg, has asked the European Commission to make it obligatory for the origin of meats to be included on the label of pre-cooked meals.

He said that the scandal had shown the need to reduce “food miles” and greeted French producers and distributors’ promotion of the “French beef” label.

Since the start of the scandal sales of pre-cooked beef meals have slumped with 39% of buyers in the Nielsen survey saying they had stopped buying them. Sales at the end of February were down €3.5 million.

• Ikea has said its tests showed no contamination in the chocolate cakes it withdrew from sale in France over fears of contamination by faecal bacteria, as had been discovered in China. Around 6,000 of the “Almond Cake with chocolate and butterscotch” had been sold in France. Ikea also had to withdraw its meatballs at the end of February after traces of horse meat were found in the beef dish.

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