BRUSSELS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- A scandal involving horsemeat sold as beef has spread across Europe, triggering alarms of food scrutiny and raising food security concerns in the continent.
Denmark's food security authorities, among others, called on Thursday an emergent check of ready meals onsale in all supermarkets as Europe's horse meat scandal spreads out.
In Cyprus, over 16 tons of hamburgers have been destroyed on Thursday following the horsemeat scandal.
The scandal came up to the surface in mid-January when Irish food inspectors detected horsemeat in frozen beef burgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain's top retailer.
So far, companies and slaughterhouses in a number of European countries have been dragged into the scandal, including France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, media reports said.
Early suspicions on the sources of the fraud over horsemeat sold as beef fell on two slaughterhouses in Romania where rural poverty has forced some farmers to sell their horses to slaughter houses, while the price of horse meat is about half that of beef.
But Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Minister of Agriculture Daniel Constantin jointly held a press conference on Monday, clarifying that none of the two suspected units was found with inconsistencies.
Romania has sold more than 6,000 tonnes of horse, mule and donkey meat to European states in 2012.
The minister explained further that "one of them exports only horsemeat, which means the wrong label was practically impossible. The second exports horsemeat and beef, and has a seven-year experience ... and our controls do not confirm any wrong labelling at the second unit, either."
Further researches showed that the contaminated beef in Britain was processed by French company Comigel.
As of Wednesday, authorities from Germany and Switzerland had also confirmed products their major retailers were selling contained horsemeat produced by the French company Comigel, making it a focal center of the spreading food scandal.
Slammed the "unacceptable behavior," French President Francois Hollande has demanded stiff penalties for those guilty of passing off horsemeat as beef as investigations ware carrying forward.
British Prime Minister David Cameron labeled on Thursday the meat scandal as "breathtaking."
Meanwhile, British Agriculture Minister David Heath said that an equine drug that is potentially harmful to humans has entered the human food chain in France via three horse carcasses exported from Britain.
The scandal had already prompted concerns outside the European continent, as the South African government making clarifications that "it is unlikely that South African importers could have unknowingly imported animal products contaminated with horsemeat" from Europe.
As "the marketplace for consumer products is becoming increasingly sophisticated," the European Commission, which represents the interests of the EU as a whole, called via a statement on Wednesday for efforts to "further strengthen EU's product-safety laws and address new, emerging threats" while making seven proposals for the EU to "to update its approach to protecting shoppers from unsafe products."
The proposals include removal of dangerous products from the EU market, purifying consumer safety rules and market-surveillance procedures, clarifying the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers and distributors and creating a more collaborative approach among EU regulators.
The European Commission was also urging its member states to launch DNA tests in meat products, Tonio Borg, European commissioner for health and consumer policy, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday, adding that he hoped the investigations would uncover the culprits soon.
BRUSSELS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission has called on certain member states of the European Union involved in recent horsemeat scandal to step up investigations and restore consumers' confidence.
"I hope that the national investigations will uncover the culprits soon," said Tonio Borg, European commissioner for health and consumer policy, during an informal ministerial meeting with agriculture ministers of the concerned member states here on Wednesday.Full story