Commissioner Borg following 'very closely' horse meat scandal

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013, 12:10

 

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EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said that he is following very closely the situation that has arisen in the last few days in some EU Member States over fraudulent labelling of horsemeat contained in some food products.

"Since the European Commission was informed, my services are working with national authorities to see that the source of the issue is properly identified and addressed," Borg said in a statement.

"In particular, we are working with the French, Romanian, Dutch, Luxembourg and British authorities and we have also called for this Friday an extraordinary meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain to discuss with all Member States the situation."

Borg explained that the EU food safety system is one of the safest in the world. Thanks to this system and its capacity for full traceability, national authorities are in a position to investigate this matter so as to find the source of the problem.

The European rules on traceability have allowed Member States to discover rapidly the origin and distribution chain of the fraudulent products.

The EU Rapid Alert system in turn also allows us to circulate in all 27 EU countries all information related to the investigations on this scandal.

"I hope that the national investigations will uncover soon the culprits," the Health Commissioner added.

"I am grateful that the Irish presidency is organising a meeting today with the relevant Ministers for us to take stock of the situation and see what action may be appropriate."

The European Commission stands ready to help in any possible way. We will continue to coordinate this situation both at political and technical level with urgency to help Member States restore the confidence of consumersAccording to BBC News, EU agriculture ministers are to hold crisis talks on the horsemeat scandal that has reportedly affected up to 16 countries as they look to restore consumer confidence in meat products.

The broadcaster says EU health commissioner Tonio Borg is to host the talks in Brussels after customers expressed their concern over the mislabelling of beef products.

The Irish Times reports that the beef products that tested positive for horse DNA came via three different routes, but, despite the authorities in Poland denying the meat came from their country, it was all labelled as Polish.

Horse meat has been discovered in Findus, Aldi and Tesco products, turning the scandal into a Europe-wide issue, with Romania being accused as the source of the meat and Luxembourg as the location of the products' manufacture, says the paper.

The Irish Examiner reports that two British processing plants were shut down yesterday as part of the horse meat inquiry after the UK's food standards agency uncovered "a blatant misleading of consumers".

According to the paper, many national authorities are investigating the case, but Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta said there is no evidence that his country is in breach of any European laws.

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