Cowhide waste products sold as food was ‘oversight’

A German company called the mislabelling and sale of cowhide waste products as food an unwitting mistake on Thursday.

“It was not intentional,” Markus Faisst, chief executive of the butchers’ cooperative EVGEDEM, told German newswire DPA.

Faisst said a negligent procedural error led to the byproducts from 170 cowhides – waste from a slaughterhouse – being labeled as food for humans instead of as so-called “K-3 material” suitable only for animal feed. The company shipped the hides from its base near Würzburg in Bavaria to the neighbouring state of Baden-Württemberg.

The public prosecutor’s office is investigating the company on suspicion of improper use of commercial documents, the Bavarian State Office of Health and Food Safety announced on Wednesday. A routine inspection by the district veterinary office turned up the problems, health officials said.

Health officials said the cowhides do not pose a public health risk. Other kinds of K-3 material include hooves, horns, pig bristles and feathers.