[So Romanian horses have actually made it to Britain, no work restrictions whatsoever!]
Authorities in Romania on Saturday defended their country’s horsemeat production after exports made it into beef products sold in various European countries. Constantin Savu of the Romanian Veterinary and Food Safety Authority said supplies of horsemeat exported from Romania were sanctioned and processed through official channels. He also said that Romania is not responsible for how those supplies are used for after they leave the country’s abattoirs.
“We have more than 25 abattoirs authorised not only to butcher horse meat but also to export it within the EU for a couple of years now,” he explained. “We have in these abattoirs officially authorised veterinarians who assist and control the technological process, from receiving the animals until the meat is ready to leave the abattoir. They have certified papers and put official stamps on the meat until it leaves the abattoir.
However, Savu said that authorities in Romania are now investigating claims that exported horsemeat had made it into beef products sold in various European countries.
“There’s no problem with the fact that we export the horsemeat, but we can’t know what could happen on its way to export, after it leaves the abattoir,” he said.
“We opened additional investigations so as to establish the exact amount of horse meat was delivered to the EU and especially to France because, as far as we understood it, they were the supplier of the meat,” Savu added.
He said authorities would also take measures to identify whether there were problem within Romanian abattoir. “I am really convinced there was no mistake made,” he added. “We have commercial papers for the meat. There are so many papers, they cannot be counterfeited.” Sweden on Friday became the latest country to be hit by a widening meat products scandal, as frozen-food company Findus said it was recalling beef lasagna meals there after tests confirmed the products contained horsemeat. Britain, Ireland, Poland and France have already been drawn into the growing saga over the use of horsemeat and the apparent mislabelling of products along the supply chain.
Earlier this week, Findus said it was recalling beef lasagna meals in Britain because of concerns raised by its French supplier Comigel. Tests later found that some of those meals contained between 60 to 100 percent horsemeat instead of beef. Then on Friday, a second British company, Aldi, confirmed that tests on Comigel-supplied products it had recently recalled – beef lasagna and frozen spaghetti bolognese – showed some contained between 30 and 100 percent horsemeat.
Aldi said it felt let down by Comigel and that it was severing ties with the French supplier.
Britain’s Food Standards Agency said that in light of the latest information from Aldi, it would work with French authorities to get to the bottom of the horsemeat scandal. Concerns about the use of horsemeat burst into the spotlight earlier this year, after it emerged that beef products from three companies in Ireland and Britain contained horse DNA.
That led to the massive recall of burgers. The revelations have shaken Ireland in particular because beef exports are a key industry.