The world’s biggest foodmaker confirmed on Tuesday it was the latest firm to be touched by the horsemeat scandal.
Nestle removed beef pasta meals under the Buitoni label sold in Italy and Spain together with a lasagne meal produced for caterers in France.
The company said tests revealed more than one percent horse DNA in some of its products. It hinted that a German subcontractor may to be blame.
Meanwhile supermarket chain Lidl withdrew several products from its stores in Finland and Sweden after finding traces of horsemeat. The company said a goulash soup and a penne pasta meal were pulled.
On Monday, French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll partially lifted a suspension on meat processing firm Spanghero. It will now be allowed to restart part of its operations.
Last week the government accused the company of knowingly selling horsemeat labelled as beef, which the company denied.
As the scandal spread to 13 countries, the issue also dominated a debate in the European parliament on Monday.
German MEP Peter Liese was keen to play down health concerns: “It is a labelling problem,” he said. “But I don’t think there is a serious health issue. Consumers want to know what they are eating.”
British MEP Chris Davies highlighted the big difference in penalties between European countries: “How can it be that in one country that you have a fine of 100 euros for mislabelling perhaps, and another country actually says that serious sanctions will be carried out?”
Since the scandal first broke last month, Britain has reported a 20 percent drop in sales of chilled ready meals. In France there has been a five percent fall.