• Germany edition
 
Aigner warns horse meat scandal may grow
Photo: DPA

Aigner warns horse meat scandal may grow

Published: 19 Feb 2013 10:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Feb 2013 16:53 GMT+01:00

Nestle announced it was removing two ready-to-eat meals -- beef ravioli and beef tortellini -- from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain after tests found traces of horse DNA in the products.

A Nestle frozen lasagne product made for the catering business was also being withdrawn from sale in France and Portugal because horse traces were found in them.

The horse DNA was found in products made with meat supplied by German firm H.J. Schypke, Nestle said in a statement late on Monday.

JBS of Brazil, which used H.J. Schypke as a subcontractor, meanwhile said in a statement that it would stop buying European meat "until confidence is restored in the European beef supply chain."

It sought to distance itself from the scandal, saying Schypke was "not in any way part of the JBS Group" and adding that "no case of co-mingling of species has been identified in products produced in or at JBS factories."

Schypke on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing.

"We buy all raw materials already chopped up, fresh or frozen, from certified suppliers... We would like to point out expressly that H.J. Schypke has at no time purchased horsemeat," it said.

The firm said it "greatly regretted" the current case and vowed to carry out genetic tests on raw meat in future.

German authorities meanwhile announced on Tuesday that 24 samples out of 360 official tests carried out on meat had revealed traces of horsemeat.

"It's too early to assign blame unilaterally... the authorities are working in the federal states to work out who should take responsibility," consumer affairs ministry spokesman Holger Eichele told reporters.

But he said the authorities would eventually be able to tell who were the "main culprits" and the "co-culprits" once the tests of ready meals and inspections of slaughterhouses and food production centres were complete.

On Monday, German discount chain Lidl pulled ready-made meals from the shelves of its Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Belgian stores as it also confirmed the presence of horsemeat.

The Berliner Zeitung daily reported on Monday that traces of horse and pork had been found in kebabs in Berlin in Leipzig.

Normally made from lamb, döner sandwiches with pork would be outrage for Germany's Muslim and Jewish communities.

Horse is also not considered kosher, although it can be halal according to Islam.

Earlier on Monday, Aigner announced Germany planned to tighten checks and sanctions on food production under an action plan to combat fraudsters selling horse meat as beef.

The 10-point plan agreed by the federal and regional consumer affairs ministers aims to shed light on the mislabelling of meat products, a regional minister said after the scandal embroiled a string of European countries.

"Germany will do more than the EU will do. We will investigate more than the EU has agreed to," Lucia Puttrich, the central state of Hesse's consumer affairs minister said three days after the EU approved a testing plan.

Other measures targeted include improving company oversight systems as well as creating requirements for companies to share information with authorities. Ministers also agreed to examine the framework of sanctions including fines.

"Tricking, cheating, deceiving must not be worth it," Puttrich warned. Aigner said an early warning system should also be examined.

Traces of horsemeat were detected in processed meals sold in a number of German supermarket chains last week. Horse has also been discovered in beef tortellini manufactured in Germany by a Liechtenstein-based group, Hilcona, and sold by budget retailer Lidl.

The Local/AFP/DAPD/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:06 February 19, 2013 by raandy
The döner, taste good, and i eat one a year, but it is truly mystery meat.
00:46 February 20, 2013 by wethepeople2012
I hope that if passing horse meat off as beef for profit is illegal, then increasing prices for profit when they can no longer pass horse meat for beef should also be illegal.
Today's headlines
Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,533
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd