Horsemeat: Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands find horse as ready meal recalls spread to 10 countries
Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are the latest countries to confirm they have found horse meat in frozen readymeals, as the horse meat scandal continues to escalate.
On Wednesday evening, German supermarket chain Real recalled all 400g packs of its frozen own-label TiP Lasagne Bolognese after tests revealed traces of horse DNA. Real had already withdrawn the product as a precaution last week. The retailer has yet to confirm its lasagne was supplied by Comigel, the French manufacturer whose frozen readymeals have sparked withdrawals from Findus and own-label brands in the UK, France, Sweden and other European countries.
A second German supermarket chain, Kaiser’s Tengelmann, withdrew own-label lasagne on a precautionary basis last week. It has said its lasagne was supplied by Comigel but has not announced any horse meat discoveries so far.
According to German media, local authorities believe Comigel products have entered Germany via Luxembourg over the past three months, and that some of these contained horse meat despite being labelled as beef.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, retailer Coop revealed its own-label frozen Lasagne Verdi alla Bolognese – also made by Comigel – had tested positive for horse. The product had already been withdrawn from shelves a few days earlier. Swiss authorities have announced an urgent testing programme on meat sauces and burgers.
In the Netherlands, retail chain Albert Heijn announced on Wednesday that its own-label Euroshopper frozen lasagne had tested positive for horse. It had already been withdrawn from sale. Supermarkets Plus and Boni have withdrawn Primafrost-branded lasagne as a precaution.
And in Belgium, French frozen foods retailer Picard said on Wednesday two types of lasagne that had already tested positive for horse in France had also been sold in the Belgian market. The products were withdrawn earlier in the week.
Products withdrawn in 10 countries
The discoveries in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands mean eight EU countries have now confirmed they have found horse meat in frozen readymeals, joining Sweden, Ireland, France and the UK. In addition, products have been withdrawn on a precautionary basis in Norway and Denmark. Numerous other countries have ordered tests on processed meat products.
In the UK, horse meat was found in Findus beef lasagne as well as Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese and two Aldi own-label spaghetti meals. The products were also on sale in Ireland.
Horse meat was also confirmed in Findus products in Sweden, after the company withdrew 20,000 packs of single-portion lasagne as a precaution. On Wednesday (13 February), Swedish retailers Ica, Coop and Axfood all revealed their own-label frozen lasagne products had also tested positive for horse meat, with some products’ meat content being 100% horse instead of beef.
And in France, Picard announced on Tuesday that two types of its own-label frozen lasagne had tested positive for horse meat. The products – along with three Findus France meals and other own-label lines made by Comigel – had already been taken off sale after Comigel products first raised alarm in the UK.
The European Commission has announced plans for a three-month DNA testing programme across all EU member states to assess precisely how widespread horse meat adulteration in processed beef products is in the European Union. Testing is to start on 1 March.