Fabian Demicoli

The scandal of horse meat labeled as beef is spreading throughout Europe.

Products containing horse meat passed
off as beef in fact have been found not only in Ireland and in England, where
the scandal began, but also in Germany, Switzerland, France, Norway and
Denmark. In Ireland, last month, the Irish
Authorities have discovered that the hamburgers sold in supermarket chains,
including Tesco, contained horse meat and not only beef.

In England products 'contaminated' with
fragments of horse have been found in food served in schools, pubs and hotels,
while the chain Whitbread admitted to the contamination of lasagna and burgers.

It is worthy to note that paradoxically
this situation was created in the two countries that are known for being horse
lovers, holding the highest of respect for this animal, and eating horse meat
is considered a sacrilege.

The European Union is very worried and
is mobilizing to resolve this big problem.

The European Commission in fact has
announced that it plans to DNA-test meat products in all EU Member States to
assess the scale of the problem.

Following testing, if found necessary
the Commission will enforce stricter controls regarding mandatory origin

Currently, this requirement only
applies to fresh beef, frozen or minced but does not apply to the beef as soon
as it is used in a meat product (e.g. sausages) or a prepared meal (e.g.
lasagne). Mandatory origin labeling should therefore be extended also to cover
such products and also to fresh lamb, pork and poultry in December 2014.

It's also very important to note that
at the same time increasing pressure will be put on companies that sell their
products to final consumers (and therefore responsible for the labeling) to pay
more attention to where they source their ingredients.

EuroCommerce, which represents GRTU at
Brussels level, and its members are working closely with authorities to
reaffirm consumers' trust in the labels on their food products.

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