A horse meat scandal that started in Britain and Ireland is now unnerving consumers around Europe. DNA tests have revealed that beef tainted with horse meat has made it into supermarkets in 13 European Union nations. Stores, schools, and hospitals are scrambling to remove some meat. And there are calls for tighter regulation of Europe’s complex food supply chain.
The scandal started in Ireland and the United Kingdom in January, but has since spread all around the EU. DNA checks on beef have found that some products, including hamburgers, contained as much as 30 percent horse meat. The list of tainted products has since widened to include frozen lasagna, tortellini, and bolognese sauce.
Europol, the EU’s police agency, is leading a Europe-wide fraud investigation. So far, three men are under arrest in England and Wales. They are accused of disguising cheap horse meat as frozen beef. The arrests come as French authorities said meat wholesaler Spanghero re-labeled and sold horse meat from Romanian suppliers. The company denies wrongdoing. By Friday, supermarkets in Germany, Denmark, Hungary, and elsewhere had begun recalling suspect products.
In the German capital, Berlin, consumer safety experts say they are now checking all kinds of meat products.