* EU ministers to meet later on Wednesday
* "Unfair" at this stage to name possible culprits
(Adds quotes, background)
BRUSSELS Feb 13 All companies that have handled
falsely-labelled horsemeat are under suspicion, the European
Union's health chief said on Wednesday, adding the Commission
was considering strengthening relevant law.
EU ministers are to meet later on Wednesday in Brussels to
work out their response to a scandal over the sale of horsemeat
in products sold as containing beef.
"It is evident that somewhere down the line, someone ... has
fraudulently or perhaps negligently labelled a product in a
deceptive way," Borg told reporters.
"All those countries through which this meat product has
passed of course are under suspicion. By the countries, I mean
the companies in those countries which dealt with this meat
product," he said, adding it would be unfair at this stage to
point the finger at any organisation in particular.
Wednesday's meeting would focus on strengthening existing EU
law, Borg said, adding the Commission was studying the
possibility of extending country-of-origin labelling to
processed meat products.
The issue, affecting a growing number of European countries
and retailers, came to light on Jan. 15, when during routine
tests the Food Safety Authority in Ireland discovered horsemeat
in frozen beef burgers produced by firms in Ireland and Britain
and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco,
Britain's biggest retailer.
It has caused particular anguish in Britain, where eating
horse flesh is virtually taboo.
Concern grew last week when the British unit of frozen foods
group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne on
advice from its French supplier, Comigel, after tests showed
concentrations of horsemeat ranging from 60 to 100 percent.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis, Charlie Dunmore, Adrian Croft and
Justyna Pawlak; editing by Andrew Roche)