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EU ministers hold horsemeat talks

EU ministers hold horsemeat talks
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EU officials held emergency talks in Brussels on Wednesday on the horsemeat scandal.

Environment, agriculture and consumer ministers were in the Belgian capital to discuss ways to solve the crisis after the discovery of incorrectly-labelled horsemeat in as many as 16 countries.

Owen Paterson, the British environment secretary, urged his EU counterparts to share information as a means of combating the problem.

“I would like to see exchange of data between food standards organisations in each member state, exchange very rapidly so that other member states can take action. I think we have been too slow on that,” he told reporters.

The meeting was called by Ireland, which holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of June.

Irish Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said: “We need enforcement of the existing regulations and we may also need more testing. Personally, I think that we do need to use DNA testing now in the food supply chain.”

French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoît Hamon said that Paris wanted to see ‘country of origin’ stickers stamped on pre-cooked meals.

Euronews’ Audrey Tilve said the European Commission has made it clear that this is not a food scare crisis, but Brussels is under pressure to improve food safety rules.