Local firm Producţie Ardealul, owned by Norwegian group Orkla, has withdrawn tinned beef products from the Romanian market, amid fears that the products contain horse meat. The company initially asked for the tinned beef to be withdrawn on March 8, while partial test results last week suggested that there could indeed be horse meat in the products. Final conclusive test results will be available this week.
Two batches of tinned beef are under suspicion, with expiration dates December 5, 2014 and January 15, 2015, according to the company. Another firm, SC Optimeat SRL, supplied the beef used, according to Producţie Ardealul. Some 30,000 tins of beef could contain horse meat. The company indicated that 80 percent of the tins are in warehouses and although insisting that there is no danger to public health, the firm has none-the-less offered to refund customers who have bought tins from the batches in question.
A Producţie Ardealul press release stated that investigations into the suppliers have been opened. The decision to withdraw the products came following a request from Romania’s veterinary and food safety authority (ANSVSA), said factory manager Claudia Cojocaru, who added that full refunds are available and that products can be returned to Producţie Ardealul SRL, 6 Târgului Street, Covasna.
Producţie Ardealul started in 1994 with a small meat processing plant. In 1996, the firm started producing tinned meat products while in 2000 and 2002 production facilities were extended. Orkla Foods Romania took over Ardealul in 2005 and pate and tinned meat, ketchup and mustard, jams and fillings are now produced at the unit. The company’s brands include Marcile Ardealul, Tomi, LaMinut and Bunatati de la Bunica.