Livsmedelsverket ordered an immediate product recall when the hybrid meat was discovered on 10 March, and now said this sale occurred during a 10-week period to mid-March.
Livsmedelsverket’s investigation is running parallel to a formal inquiry by Ekobrottsmyndigheten (EBM), Sweden’s economic crime authority, which has begun a probe into how the hybrid meat product was "mislabelled" prime beef, and how it found its way into the Swedish food chain and on to the shelves of leading supermarkets Ica Maxi and Konsum.
The Ica Maxi supermarket chain was the worst-affected, having bought and distributed for sale around 20t of the hybrid buffalo-beef product through its countrywide store chain. "There was no reason to believe that the hybrid meat posed a health risk, but the recall was made on grounds of absolute safety," said Magnus Danielsson, the head of Livsmedelsverket’s food standards unit.
Ica Maxi regards the mislabelling as an act of fraud, and the company will co-operate fully with the EBM to have the unnamed supplier prosecuted, said Ica Maxi’s senior buyer, Emmy Hedell.