- Title: FRANCE: Horsemeat scandal spreads in France
- Date: 11th February 2013
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 11, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIORS OF MONOPRIX SUPERMARKET, WHICH HAS WITHDRAWN PRODUCTS SUSPECTED OF CONTAINING HORSEMEAT PARIS STREET PEOPLE ENTERING SUPERMARKET
- Embargoed: 26th February 2013 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Business,General
- Reuters ID: LVA3KSL9QV9XWZCE5WOSTR9JKOEI
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: French politicians called for severe punishments for those responsible for the growing European horsemeat scandal on Monday (February 11).
In France, six big retailers said they were recalling lasagne meals and other products suspected of being mis-labelled after horsemeat was discovered in European processed meat dishes.
As details emerge of a complex network of slaughterhouses and middlemen standing between the farm and the supermarkets across Europe, France and Britain have vowed to punish those found responsible for selling horsemeat purporting to be beef.
Speaking to Europe 1 radio, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Service Michel Barnier said that customers need not currently worry on health grounds.
"To my knowledge there are no problems of food safety. So let's not talk of a health scandal, at least for the minute. But it is a scandal. The justice taken must be ruthless with those who committed either mis-selling or fraud," he said French officials tracing the contamination of the Findus beef lasagne said a Luxembourg factory had been supplied by the French firm Poujol, which had bought the meat frozen from a Cypriot trader, who in turn had subcontracted the order to a Dutch trader supplied by a Romanian abattoir.
French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll called for clarification of this tortuous system and sanctions for those who had misled the public.
"I've said since the beginning that there would be an inquiry and sanctions. Those who have misled must face severe sanctions. This is the first point. And secondly, what I note is that in this procurement system there are commercial circuits very complicated, which bring traders into play. I've even got the impression that a Cypriot trader subcontracted to a Dutch trader who then himself subcontracted. And now we get to Romania and Poland. So there too there is work to be done to get out of this fog," he told RTL radio.
A crisis meeting is planned for later on Monday with Le Foll and junior ministers talking to representatives of the meat trade.
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