Findus, a frozen foods manufacturer, has acknowledged that the frozen lasagna it offers has been using 100 percent horsemeat–and it all comes from France. The French company Comigel pounded the horsemeat into the lasagna in its plant in Metz.
Great Britain’s Food Safety Agency (FSA) is checking all beef products on the shelves to look for horsemeat, which is banned in Britain but widely eaten in France. Meanwhile, Findus told stores to remove all three sizes of its beef lasagna from stores.
Comigel’s president, Erick Leharge, was “unavailable for comment.”
British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson assured the public that an investigation would be conducted:
The responsibility for the safety and authenticity of food lies with those who produce it, and who sell or provide it to the final consumer. I know that food producers, retailers and caterers are as concerned as we are at the course of recent events. The Food Standards Agency, Defra, and the Department of Health are working closely with businesses and trade bodies along the whole food chain to root out any illegal activity and enforce food safety and authenticity regulations. Consumers can be confident that we will take whatever action we consider necessary if we discover evidence of criminality or negligence.
Horsemeat can contain the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, which was banned when research showed one person in 30,000 could have serious side effects to it.
The Labour Party’s Shadow Food and Farming Secretary, Mary Creagh, was furious with the British government, saying: “People do not feel they can trust what it says on the label. The Government’s handling of this has been appalling. Unless they come out on the front foot and show leadership, we won’t have a meat processing industry left.”
Photo credit: Graeme Newcomb/Flickr