EU launches testing programme in escalating horse meat scandal

EU launches testing programme in escalating horse meat scandal
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Where will the focus fall next? The horse meat scandal, as it has been called, resonates across Europe.

Northern Ireland is in the spotlight with confirmation that contaminated beef burgers were supplied to hospitals.

In one county in England 51 schools were supplied with pies containing horse meat, while catering giant Whitebread revealed some for their burgers and beef lasagnes were contaminated.

It caters for 19 million people each month. The escalating scandal in the United Kingdom has caused anger.

“I think that is wrong. It’s disgusting, just to make money. It’s not right. You pay for what it should be, if it’s beef it’s beef, not fake,” said one parent.

Twelve countries have so far been affected with a question mark over Romania. Dutch prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into one company for allegedly mislabelling products.

European Union governments have approved an EU-wide programme of DNA tests on beef products to assess the scale of the food scandal.

“We should not create panic ourselves if there is no indication in this regard, because as you know sometimes the reaction can be irrational so unless there is proof that it is a food safety issue we will still treat it as a labelling issue. Until now it is a labelling issue,” said European Union Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.

The testing plan will also check horse meat for harmful drug residues. Six horses slaughtered in the UK tested positive for phenylbutazone, illegal in meat for human consumption.

The UK has called on Europol to investigate the possibility of an international conspiracy behind the scandal.

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