European Union food safety experts have come up with a plan that hopefully will restore consumer confidence in European beef. Under the plan, 2,250 samples of beef products sold across the EU will be tested for the presence of horse meat. The tests are to be conducted before the end of March with the results published by April 15th. If warranted, another round of testing would be conducted in April.
In addition, every 50 tons of horse meat will be tested for the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazon or “bute”.
The plan must be approved by EU agriculture ministers scheduled to meet February 25th.
Meanwhile, initial results of testing in the UK were published on Friday, of 2,500 products tested, 29 tested positive for horse meat. The Food Standards Agency says 15 of the positives were lasagna from Findus, the rest were beef products from three supermarket chains and a catering supply company. More than 10,000 products are yet to be tested.
On the other side of the English Channel, French officials have suspended the license of meat processor and wholesaler Spanghero suspected of labeling horse meat as beef. The company’s owner contends if it was horse meat, he didn’t know it. Officials charge that even if the owner didn’t know he was getting horse meat instead of beef, he should have known something was wrong because the price was so low. One of Spanghero’s customers is Findus lasagna.