Polish beef scandal: All meat imported to France found

All 800 kg of the spoiled beef that was imported to France from Poland has now been identified and taken off French shelves, the minister for Agriculture has confirmed this weekend.

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The meat scandal first broke earlier this week, after an undercover investigation of an abattoir in the north-east of Poland showed that 2.7 tonnes of spoiled meat from visibly-ill cows had been illegally imported into 13 European countries, of which 800 kg to France.

The fraudulently-slaughtered animals arrived in France through nine different companies.

Of the 800 kg, 650 kg was identified immediately, with 500 kg destroyed, and 150 kg identified as already having been sold in independent butchers across Ile-de-France, Ille-et-Vilaine and the Loiret.

Another 145-150 kg had been otherwise missing.

This has now been identified, with all relevant butchers and consumers informed. No supermarkets were affected.

The meat is not said to pose a risk to human health, but should never have been slaughtered or sold under existing food laws, according to the investigation. Anyone worried about their meat is advised to cook it very well before eating.

National agricultural union the FNSEA (La Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricoles) had strongly condemned the scandal and said it was due to “dangerous chasing of profits”.

In a statement this weekend, the minister for Agriculture said: “The 145 kg previously sought have now been identified as batches of meat sold by greengrocers, butchers, or in restaurants. Part of these batches were able to be taken off the market.”

The abattoir in question, in Kalinowo - around 100 km north of Warsaw - has now closed and is under investigation.

Locals are said to be shocked by the revelations, with one farmer speaking to news source FranceInfo, saying that the abattoir has previously also “taken on perfectly healthy cattle”.

But another resident said: “It is horrible to see animals treated this way. And what’s more, we [in this town] have eaten this meat. It is really disgusting.”

French artisanal butcher and MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) Romain Leboeuf, advised consumers to only buy local or French meat in the wake of the scandal.

He said: “What they allow [in farms] in Europe is not as tightly controlled as in France. Therefore, clearly, consumers are taking no risks when they eat French [meat].”

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