Food inspectors investigate role in meat scandal

POSTED: 02/12/13 11:56 AM

AMSTERDAM – Dutch food safety inspectors are to investigate claims that Dutch companies are involved in the horse meat scandal, which is slowly widening across Europe.

The inspectors will also look into whether meat products containing horse without being labeled as such are on Dutch supermarket shelves, news agency Novum reported.

Horse meat has been found in products said to be 100 percent beef in Britain, Sweden, Ireland and Poland in recent days. In particular, frozen lasagna from a French firm was found to be up to 100 percent horse meat. French officials have said a Dutch meat trader had a pivotal role in the supply chain and may have bought the meat from Romania.

Horse steaks used to be a popular meat in the Netherlands but are now much less widely eaten. Instead, horse is used to bulk out more expensive meat in snack products.

Checks on popular Dutch snacks such as bitterballen (Dutch deep-fried meatballs) carried out by Wageningen University in 2007 found horse meat was included in 32 percent of them. And in 2008, a television consumer program found horse was still used by many producers of frikandellen (Dutch deep-fried sausage).

The Netherlands is also a major processor of horse meat imported from abroad, largely from South America.

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