France finds horsemeat in beef imported via Netherlands

MARSEILLE, France Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:58pm EDT

Metal horse heads are seen above a closed horsemeat butcher shop in Paris January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Metal horse heads are seen above a closed horsemeat butcher shop in Paris January 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Horsemeat has been found in France in a shipment of 320 tonnes of meat labeled "pure beef" that was imported from eastern Europe via the Netherlands, a local prosecutor said on Friday.

The horsemeat, found during tests in the southeastern city of Cavaillon in meat intended for use in ready-made meals, was the latest in a scandal that has spread across Europe since equine DNA was found in beef products in Ireland in January.

"The tests, carried out three weeks ago, have shown the presence of horsemeat in most batches," Vaucluse prosecutor Yannick Blanc told Reuters.

The meat came from various eastern European countries and transited through the warehouses of Dutch companies Draap Trading and Windmeijer Meat Trading, the prosecutor said.

The firms could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last month, after a senior Romanian food safety official identified Draap Trading as a buyer of horsemeat from Romania, a lawyer for Draap official Jan Fasen denied all allegations, including of being a major player in a fraud network.

No horsemeat was found in one batch that came directly from Romania without going through the Netherlands, Blanc said.

A spokesman from the Dutch food safety authority declined to comment about the specific case but said there was a continuing investigation to trace the supply chain for beef potentially containing horsemeat, imported to the Netherlands and then re-exported to France.

French President Francois Hollande called last month for compulsory labeling and traceability of meat used in processed foods in Europe to prevent a repeat of the horsemeat scandal.

(Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet; Additional reporting by Ivana Sekularac in Amsterdam; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (2)
sharksrule wrote:
Be cautious of any horse meat coming in from America. The horses in America are in a scandal regarding illegal and legal drugs in the horses, and they have been exporting illegally racehorses full of drugs including bute the day of a race the horse man be sent to slaughter. So be really cautious, the American Congress is considering a complete ban on horses being slaughter because of the health risks of eating it, the meat has been banned from most states from people consuming it and can only be exported which obviously shouldnt happen if the meat is unsafe, nearly every US owner of a horse utilizes Bute for any reason to treat a horse. So each individual has some supply of Bute on hand.

Mar 20, 2013 1:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SuzanneMoore wrote:
We have been telling the EU for YEARS that the meat from our horses isn’t safe to eat because in the US horses aren’t food animals. Simple as that. No, none of our horses should EVER have been sold for human consumption. But, Special Interests have been blocking anti-horse slaughter legislation for years.

Americans do NOT eat horses. 80% of the American people are dead set against horse slaughter, but, like I said, Special Interests – with VERY deep pockets – have been blocking any legislation that would shut it down. Infuriating!

However, I feel I must object to your statement that “nearly every US owner of a horse utilizes Bute for any reason to treat a horse.” We use bute judiciously and follow the instructions on the label. We don’t use it “for any reason.” We use it for those things for which our vets prescribe it. Yes, I have some bute on hand so I won’t have to bother my vet for every little thing. He knows I know how to use – and NOT overuse – bute. He’s been my vet for almost 20 years.

There is no reason a horse owner shouldn’t have some bute on hand. Our horses are NEVER INTENDED to go to slaughter. The kill buyers are not concerned about food safety any more than they care what means they must use to obtain our horses. Theft, purchasing under false pretenses, lies, fraud, scams – whatever it takes. We hate them – they are predators and we want slaughter banned as well as taking horses across borders for the purpose of slaughter. We have bills pending in Congress that will do just that. If we can get it past the Special Interests.

Mar 20, 2013 10:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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