• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Drug-tainted horsemeat in the food chain: France

AFP · 24 Feb 2013, 08:24

Published: 24 Feb 2013 08:24 GMT+01:00

A spokesman for the French agriculture ministry told AFP several horse carcasses containing the drug Phenylbutazone have probably ended up being eaten by consumers.

Phenylbutazone is an anti-inflammatory treatment for horses which is potentially harmful to humans and by law is supposed to be kept off of plates.

Britain alerted Paris that six tainted carcasses had been exported to France in January, but the meat had already been processed by the time the warning came.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said that although some of the meat had been recalled, the equivalent of three carcasses had "probably" made it to consumers, but added there was "no health risk" since the traces of phenylbutazone found in the meat were "extremely weak".

The minister underscored that the find was in no way connected with the wider horsemeat scandal however, since the meat had not been disguised as beef.

But the announcement still added a new dimension to the scandal over mislabelled meat that erupted in Europe in January after horsemeat was initially found in so-called beef ready-made meals and burgers in Britain and Ireland.

Since then, supermarkets across the continent have pulled prepared meals from their shelves, with effects felt as far away as Hong Kong, where an imported brand of lasagne has been withdrawn from stores.

On Saturday, Italy joined the long list of countries that have been hit by the fraud, reporting its first case of horsemeat-contaminated lasagne.

The horsemeat was found in tests on six tonnes of mincemeat and 2,400 "lasagne bolognese" packages produced by a central Italian company that had used meat from suppliers based in the northern part of the country.

The tests were carried out as part of sweeping checks by police on 121 brands across the country.

French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that he would push for mandatory labelling of meat in ready-made meals.

"I want there to eventually be mandatory labels on the meat contained in prepared meals," Hollande said while visiting an agricultural show in Paris.

"Until then, I will support... all initiatives for voluntary labelling" so that "consumers know the origin of the products they are consuming, especially meat."

French firm Spanghero has been at the heart of the scandal after it allegedly passed off 750 tonnes of horsemeat as beef, with the product eventually finding its way into 4.5 million "beef" products sold across Europe.

Story continues below…

French authorities had initially suspended the company's sanitary license, but following protests from 300-odd workers allowed the company to resume production of minced meat, sausages and ready-to-eat meals.

The company was banned, however, from stocking frozen meat.

In Ireland, authorities on Friday suspended production at a meat processing plant after investigators found it was selling horsemeat labelled as beef.

B&F Meats, a small company licenced to debone beef and horsemeat in Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary, was found to be sending horsemeat to a customer in the Czech Republic, the Irish agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The label in the Czech language refers to beef, it added.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bienvenue en France: France cuts red tape for UK firms
Photo: AFP

France is ready to roll out the red carpet for UK firms quitting Britain because of Brexit fears.

VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Photo: Canal Plus

Bird poo, bums and butts: Is life on les terraces really as bad as this?

'Five terror plots thwarted' on Riviera since Nice attack
A police boat patrols the waters off the beach in Nice during the summer. Photo: AFP

Authorities in Nice say five potentially deadly terror plots on the French Riviera have been foiled since the Bastille Day truck attack in the resort.

IN PICTURES
French firefighters calendar to provoke global palpitations
Photo: Fred Goudon

Warning: Some readers may suffer palpitations, sweats or other side-effects when reading this story.

Why Paris beach festival could be sand-free in future
Photo: AFP

Is a beach with no sand still a beach?

Lost without translation: The struggles of Calais migrants
Communication problems in the Calais jungle camp. Photo: AFP

So many languages are spoken in the Calais jungle migrant camp but French is rarely heard.

Paris finally bows to the importance of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde's tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery, which now has a glass screen protecting it. Photo: AFP

It's taken a while but the French capital is finally paying tribute to the importance of the writer who died in a Paris hotel.

French towns divided over taking in Calais migrants
Photo: AFP

Towns across France are arguing over whether to take in migrants soon to be evacuated from the Calais "jungle" camp.

Paris region eyes up cable cars to unclog traffic jams
Could something like this be the future of transport in Paris? Photo: AFP

Did you know there are 12 cable car projects around the Paris region? Better than the RER trains surely?

Dos and don'ts to help you cope with writing in French

Writing emails in French is a whole new challenge that requires a whole new set of tips.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
2,732
jobs available