French meat companies under investigation

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union United kingdom

A major meat distributor and two processor are under judicial
investigation in France, after foodregulatory authorities accused
the companies of using spoiled meat in a canned corn beef product.

The issue highlights the problems of illegally sourced meat and the need for traceabilitycontrols so that processors can ensure they do not fall afoul of food safety laws.

France's ministry of agriculture yesterday accused Covi of distributing corned beef made frombeef that was unfit for human consumption and which did not conform with the country's food safetyrules. Two of France's biggest meat processors, Charal et Soviba, are also implicated in the affair,identified by France's media as the alleged source of the illegal ingredients.

Inspections of Covi by the veterinary services unit at the end of November 2006 uncovered theproblem, the agriculture ministry said in a press release. Since then about 1.2 million cans of thecorned beef have been recalled by the company from retail shelves in France, the UK, Belgium, Greeceand Ireland, according to French media reports.

"An investigation is in hand of the suppliers of the raw materials in question, and companyCovi was placed under reinforced veterinary control,"​ the agriculture ministry stated,adding that a file has been sent to judicial authorities.

The UK faced a similar scandal in 2005 when Euro Freeze in Northern Ireland was accused of allegedly redistributing fraudulently labelled meat across the EU. The case is now before the UK's courts.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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