February 10, 2013 / 4:30 PM / 6 years ago

French retailers pull back products in horsemeat scandal

PARIS (Reuters) - Six big French retailers said on Sunday they were recalling lasagna meals and other products suspected of being mislabeled after the discovery of horsemeat in beef products.

The British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagna last week on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, and the French and British governments have since vowed to punish those found responsible for allowing horsemeat originating from Romania to be sold as beef.

French retailers’ federation FCD said on Sunday that French supermarkets were also pulling several products supplied by Findus and Comigel on concerns that they were mislabeled. The supermarkets are Auchan, Casino, Carrefour, Cora, Monoprix and Picard

An initial French investigation has revealed that the horsemeat ended up in a Luxembourg factory supplied by a French company and that a Dutch and Cypriot trader had also been involved although the meat originally came from a Romanian abattoir.

French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said in Le Parisien newspaper that the apparent fraud had generated profits of 300,000 euros and may have been going on since August.

He also said he expected further investigation to reveal whether French meat processor Spanghero, at the heart of the supply chain, was aware it had bought horsemeat or had been deceived.

Eating horsemeat is taboo in Britain and although once common fare in France it has been out of fashion for decades.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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