A new meat labelling scandal involving horsemeat is unfolding on the Continent, with a major Swiss meat supplier accused of selling horsemeat as beef along with a string of other labelling breaches.
Swiss authorities have opened an investigation into the operations of meat company Carna Grischa after newspaper SonntagsBlick published an exposé into the company over the weekend.
The article claimed Carna Grischa had engaged in a string of labelling breaches, including selling horsemeat as beef, Hungarian poultry meat as Swiss (while charging its customers a premium for Swiss fare), previously frozen meat as fresh as well as changing expiry dates.
Carna Grischa did not immediately respond to requests for comment but, according to Swiss media, the company has denied most of the accusations, though it has conceded there may have been “isolated cases” where meat it supplied was not labelled correctly. It stressed those cases dated back to some years ago.
The company initially tried to secure an injunction against SonntagsBlick to stop the article from being published, but a court last week allowed publication to go ahead, citing public interest.
Horsemeat is widely sold for human consumption in Switzerland, so horsemeat being mis-sold as beef does not carry the same connotations as it did for British consumers during the horsemeat scandal of 2013.
However, Swiss meat suppliers and butchers said horsemeat should have been clearly labelled as such, and it was unacceptable for consumers to get anything less than fully transparent labelling.
According to Swiss media, Carna Grischa is one of Switzerland’s five biggest meat suppliers, with an annual turnover of about CHF30 million (£19.8m) and 60 employees. It supplies primarily foodservice customers and public institutions such as school and care homes.