SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

Made in France – ‘horse lasagne’ sparks UK alert

British authorities warned the public Thursday not to eat beef lasagne sold by the Findus brand and made in France after tests found it contained up to 100 percent horse meat.

Made in France - 'horse lasagne' sparks UK alert

In the latest in a string of food scares in Britain, the Food Standards Agency said that "criminal activity" was likely to blame and ordered further tests on the meat for a veterinary drug.

Findus tested 18 of its beef lasagne products manufactured by supplier Comigel in France and found 11 meals containing 60 percent to 100 percent horse meat, the agency said.

"Findus withdrew the beef lasagne products after its French supplier, Comigel, raised concerns about the type of meat used in the lasagne," the agency said in a statement.

The agency said tests on the lasagne were ordered "as part of its ongoing investigation into mislabelled meat."

"We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk."

But it said it had ordered further tests on the suspect lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, as animals treated with it are not allowed to enter the food chain in Britain.

The agency's chief executive Catherine Brown said it was an "appalling" situation".

"I have to say that that the two cases of gross contamination that we see here indicates that it is highly likely there has been criminal and fraudulent activity involved," she told BBC news.

She added: "We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagne, and provide the results to the FSA.

"The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horse meat."

Findus UK apologised to customers.

"We understand this it is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue," a spokesman said.

The spokesman added that "fully compliant beef lasagne will be in stores again soon."

It is the latest horsemeat-related scare after horse DNA was found two weeks ago in beefburgers in Britain and Ireland, countries where horse meat consumption is generally taboo.

Two weeks ago, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had revealed that up to 29 percent of the meat content of some beefburgers was in fact horse, while they also found pig DNA.

The consumption of horse meat is more common in parts of Europe including France and in central Asia, China and Latin America.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CULTURE

Le goûter: The importance of the afternoon snack in France

The French have developed an entire cultural tradition around the idea of an afternoon snack. It's called "Le goûter" and here's what you need to know about it.

Le goûter: The importance of the afternoon snack in France

With all those patisseries and viennoiseries tempting the tastebuds in high street boulangerie after boulangerie, there can be little wonder that France  – which takes food very seriously – has also invented the correct time to eat them.

Let us introduce you to the cultural tradition of le goûter – the noun of the verb “to taste”, and a cultural tradition in France dating back into the 19th century, perhaps even as far back as the Renaissance … allowing for the fact that people have snacked for centuries, whether or not it had a formal name. 

It refers to a very particular snack time, usually at around 4pm daily. This is the good news.

The bad news is that, officially, le goûter is reserved for children. This is why many schools, nurseries and holiday activity centres offer it and offices don’t. The idea is that, because the family evening meal is eaten relatively late, this mid-afternoon snack will keep les enfants from launching fridge raids, or bombarding their parents with shouts of, “j’ai faim!”.

Most adults, with their grown-up iron will-power, are expected to be able to resist temptation in the face of all that pastry, and live on their three set meals per day. Le grignotage – snacking between meals – is frowned on if you’re much older than your washing machine.

But, whisper it quietly, but just about everyone snacks (grignoter), anyway – a baguette that doesn’t have one end nibbled off in the time it takes to travel from boulanger to table isn’t a proper baguette. Besides, why should your children enjoy all the treats? 

We’re not saying ignore the nutritionists, but if you lead an active, reasonably healthy lifestyle, a bite to eat in the middle of the afternoon isn’t going to do any harm. So, if you want to join them, feel free.

What do you give for goûter 

It’s a relatively light snack – we’re not talking afternoon tea here. Think a couple of biscuits, a piece of cake, a pain au chocolat (or chocolatine, for right-thinking people in southwest France), piece of fruit, pain au lait, a croissant, yoghurt, compote, or a slice of bread slathered in Nutella.

Things might get a little more formal if friends and their children are round at the goûter hour – a pre-visit trip to the patisserie may be a good idea if you want to avoid scratching madly through the cupboards and don’t have time to create something tasty and homemade.

Not to be confused with

Une collation – adult snacking becomes socially acceptable when it’s not a snack but part of une collation served, for example, at the end of an event, or at a gathering of some kind. Expect, perhaps, a few small sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a few small pastries, coffee and water.

L’apéro – pre-dinner snacks, often featuring savoury bites such as charcuterie, olives, crisps and a few drinks, including alcoholic ones, as a warm up to the main meal event, or as part of an early evening gathering before people head off to a restaurant or home for their evening meal.

Un en-cas – this is the great adult snacking get-out. Although, in general, snacking for grown-ups is considered bad form, sometimes it has to be done. This is it. Call it un en-cas, pretend you’re too hungry to wait for the next meal, and you’ll probably get away with it.

Le goûter in action

Pour le goûter aujourd’hui, on a eu un gâteau – For snack today, we had some cake.

Veuillez fournir un goûter à votre enfant – Please provide an afternoon snack for your child.

J’ai faim ! Je peux avoir un goûter ? – I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?

SHOW COMMENTS