Just weeks after the horsemeat scandal that rocked the confidence of European shoppers, it has emerged that 57 tons of prohibited British lamb meat has been found in France.
The meat has been found by health inspectors investigating horse meat stocks at the Spanghero meat processing plant in southern France, French media revealed on Tuesday.
The meat is prohibited in France because it has been mechanically separated from bones using a method banned in the European Union since 2001. After the “mad cow disease” scandal, EU lawmakers decided that mechanical separation of meat and bones did not eliminate the chances of small fragments of bone and bone marrow contaminating the meat.
Spanghero had been directly linked to the horse meat scandal as it allegedly sold horse meat as beef to companies such as Findus. However, in this latest case France’s Agriculture Minister says that Spanghero may have been duped. When delivered, the labels on the meat did not mention the European-banned processing method.
In another throwback to the horse meat affair, the lamb meat has been delivered to Spanghero by Dutch company Draap Trading, which had previously been linked to trading horse meat and passing it off as beef.
The health inspectors have not yet pinpointed the exact source of the British lamb meat. Spanghero denies any wrong-doing. A union member at the plant told French reporters that Spanghero workers learned the news on the radio, and took it as another blow to their severely damaged morale
French authorities have launched an investigation and issued a recall for all products potentially made with this meat, which is unfit for consumption.