* Products withdrawn from sale in Italy and Spain
* Nestle latest company affected in scandal
* Says withdrawals have no major financial impact
ZURICH/LONDON, Feb 19 Nestle has
removed beef pasta meals sold under its Buitoni brand from sale
in Italy and Spain after finding traces of horsemeat, becoming
the latest victim of a food scandal still spreading across
The world's biggest food company, which said as recently as
last week its products had not been affected by the scare, said
the decision to withdraw the products came after tests over the
weekend showed traces of horse DNA in batches of meat used to
prepare the meals.
Nestle spokesman Chris Hogg said on Tuesday the withdrawals
would have no material financial impact on the company. "These
are chilled pasta products that do not have a long shelf life so
there are very low levels of inventory," he said.
Hogg said Nestle was not attempting to estimate the level of
impact the recall would have on the reputation of its brand.
The scandal of horsemeat in products labelled as beef has
spread across Europe since last month, prompting product
withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations
into the continent's complex food-processing chains.
A fifth of adults said they had been buying less meat as a
result of the discovery, according to a poll conducted by
research company Consumer Intelligence and published on Monday.
Swiss-based Nestle withdrew two chilled pasta products,
Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini, in Italy and Spain.
Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product for
catering businesses produced in France, will also be pulled, it
The group said tests had found more than 1 percent horse DNA
in the products. It was not immediately clear whether the tests
had been carried out by Nestle or by a third party.
"We have informed the authorities accordingly," Nestle said
in a statement. "There is no food safety issue."
Nestle said it was suspending deliveries of all products
using beef from a German company called H.J. Schypke, a
subcontractor to one of its suppliers, JBS Toledo NV.
JBS Toledo said in a statement on its website it had
suspended all its contracts with Schypke and no case of
co-mingling of species had been identified in products produced
in or at its factories.
Schypke said it was only a meat processor and that it buys
meat from certified suppliers, adding it was collaborating with
One analyst said the immediate impact on Nestle as a whole
would be small, but it illustrated the scale of the issue for
"In terms of the large and diversified size of Nestle's
portfolio (it will be) largely irrelevant - we assume that
barely 3 percent of its portfolio might be affected, mostly in
its culinary division," said analyst Jon Cox at brokerage Kepler
in a note.
"However, it will lead to further pressure on the meat
category overall amid the problem of (cheaper) horsemeat getting
into a beef supply chain and could lead to increased regulatory
pressure on the food industry generally."
Governments across Europe have stressed that horsemeat poses
little or no health risk, although some carcasses have been
found tainted with a painkiller banned for human consumption.
But the scandal has damaged the confidence of consumers in
supermarkets and fast-food chains since horsemeat was first
identified in Irish beefburgers.
Retailer Lidl said on Monday it had withdrawn
products from its stores in Finland and Sweden after finding
traces of horsemeat.
Shares in Nestle traded 0.4 percent firmer at 0933 GMT,
trailing a 0.9 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 food and