Crime lies behind the Findus horsemeat in beef lasagne scandal, according to the British government, as the number and types of products being removed from supermarket shelves grow.
The British Food Standards Agency has demanded that all food retailers and suppliers test all beef products and submit the results by February 15.
British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to reassure consumers that the scare is not a safety issue:
“As I’ve said there’s no reason to believe that any frozen food currently on sale is unsafe or a danger to health. And I think it is very important we make that point. This is not so much about safety, it is about food labelling, proper retailing, proper information and frankly it is also about customers being let down”
Comigel, the French maker of the tainted Findus products says it has identified a Romanian supplier and was withdrawing all the affected products.
Many in the meat trade believe profit is the real issue. Chris Godfrey is a family butcher working in London:
“Well I think the problem is supermarkets squeeze their suppliers so tight that something has to give and everyone has to make a profit. If they are getting squeezed then they squeeze their suppliers and their suppliers squeeze their suppliers. When they’re squeezed they cut corners and things happen.”
Irish food safety authorities say it is a euro-wide problem involving France, Luxembourg, Poland and the Netherlands and Sweden to date.