EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg will meet European ministers from the countries caught up in the horse meat scandal tomorrow in Brussels (February 12 ). Government representatives from the countries affected have promised action: UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson has said that he suspects the involvement of criminals, French Minister Benoit Hamon has pledged to immediately toughen controls on affected products and yesterday, Romania’s PM Victor Ponta offered to help uncover the truth, but defended the Romanian abattoirs, suggesting that they were openly selling correctly labeled meat that meets EU regulations.
The representatives from the countries involved will discuss the EU response tomorrow (February 13 ). “Whatever steps may be necessary at EU level to comprehensively address this matter,” will be discussed at the meeting, according to Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, quoted by the BBC.
Ireland, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency called the meeting. Products in Ireland have also been found to contain horse meat, but the supply chain appears to be different, with Irish retailers saying the meat came from Poland. Meanwhile, Romania has emerged as another original source of horse meat found in products produced by French company Comigel and sold in France and the UK.
The Romanian PM said that Romania should not be treated like a convenient scapegoat in the case. He said that Romanian abattoirs met EU standards and that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in the local meat industry.
Yesterday, Ponta promised that he himself would make sure all relevant authorities carried out an investigation to find out the truth in the case, pledging an open and transparent process that would satisfy the European authorities. Romania’s Agriculture Minister said that the two Romanian companies accused by the French firms had been checked, without any official European request, and no irregularities had been found.
Findus, which produces ready meals found to contain up to 100 percent horse meat, has said French company Comigel supplied contaminated meat products. Comigel in turn blamed another French firm Spanghero for supplying horse meat, while Spanghero claims that Romanian abattoirs sold horse labeled as beef. However, it has emerged that Spanghero did not get the meat directly from Romania, instead two intermediaries, one Dutch and one Cypriot, are said to have supplied Spanghero.
(photo source: sxc.hu)