- Title: GERMANY: Horsemeat scandal reaches Germany
- Date: 14th February 2013
- Summary: TELLINSTEDT, GERMANY (FILE - DECEMBER 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HORSES ON SNOWCOVERED FIELD
- Embargoed: 1st March 2013 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Crime,Business,Health,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVAE83RWD4ETSW7UJAKL58EGJOEF
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The horsemeat scandal has reached Germany. German supermarket chain Real, part of the world's fourth largest retailer Metro said, tests revealed traces of horsemeat in frozen lasagna on Wednesday (February 13). Real, which operates more than 300 stores across Europe's largest economy, said it had already removed the ready-meal from its shelves on Friday (Februay 8).
The scandal, which began in Ireland when horsemeat was found in frozen beef burgers and has affected a growing number of countries and retailers, has shocked consumers and exposed flawed food safety controls.
The Environmental Minister for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Remmel, said on Thursday (February 14) that the scandal would offer an insight into an abyss of pan-European complexity, and of "the apparently quite strong pressure within the trade and we have to assert that there are only a few crossing points, from where all (supermarket) chains receive their goods, and that's why the system is fragile," said Remmel before entering the Berlin ministry of environment.
The European Commission has proposed increased DNA testing of meat products to assess the scale of a scandal involving horsemeat sold as beef that has shocked the public and raised concern over the continent's food supply chains.
The scandal erupted when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that meat in products labelled as beef was in fact up to 100 percent horsemeat. Operators in at least eight EU countries have since been dragged into the affair, raising fears of a pan-European labelling fraud.
Officials have said no risk to public health from the adulterated foods has been identified at this stage but testing for horse medicine in meat is being undertaken to be sure.
Remmel told reporters on Friday he wouldn't rule out health risks at this stage. "I can't rule out at the moment that there is a health risk, because we haven't analysed this extensively yet, we are going to do this now. It is not explainable why horsemeat (which generally isn't cheaper) was intermixed, there must be a reason for it. We are investigating this, but we don't have a result just yet," he said.
On January 15, routine tests by Ireland's Food Safety Authority found horsemeat in frozen beef burgers produced by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer.
Concerns grew last week when the British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling packets of beef lasagna on advice from its French supplier Comigel, after tests showed up to 100 percent of the meat in them was horse.
The affair has since implicated operators and middlemen in a range of EU countries, from abattoirs in Romania and factories in Luxembourg to traders in Cyprus and food companies in France.
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