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horsemeat scandal

Food minister: Findus bears responsibility

Updated söndag 10 februari 2013 kl 16.03
Published söndag 10 februari 2013 kl 11.44
Photo: Sveriges Radio / Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio.

While authorities in different countries are trying to work out the complicated supply chain that led to horsemeat turning up in packages of frozen food labelled to contain beef, the Swedish minister in charge of food issues, believes the blame should fall on the shoulders of the Swedish-founded food giant, Findus, which sold the packages.

Eskil Erlandsson tells news agency TT that Findus has the responsibility of making sure that a food package's label accurately reflects its contents, since it was Findus that put the product on the market.

Sweden's National Food Agency is considering filing a police report against Findus.

However, Findus has defended itself, saying they were deceived by their suppliers.

"Fraud from Comigel and Spanghero (Findus' suppliers) is a scandal that's affected consumers all over Europe. Everyone has a right to be indignant and disappointed. But we, too, because we've also been deceived," says Jari Latvanen, CEO for Findus Nordic, to news agency TT.

Findus is preparing legal action against Comgel, their French supplier.

"It's a breach of agreement, but it's also fraud. The agreement says the beef should come from Germany, France or Austria. We can confirm now that that wasn't the case," says Latvanen.

Sweden's National Food Agency says it is currently focused on making sure the mislabelled products are all off the shelves and on investigating what actually happened.

"We're gathering a group tomorrow form all of the deivisions at the Agency to try to map out what happened and what we can do about it, both in the short term and the long term," says Mona-Lisa Dahlom-Wiedel from the National Food Agency to news agency TT.

The mislabelling of Findus frozen lasagna was first discovered in Great Britain, and on Saturday, Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs held a crisis meeting with members of the industry. He said the scandal was caused by "gross incompetence or what I suspect is an international criminal conspiracy".

France's junior minister for consumer goods, Benoit Hamon, said Saturday that based on an initial investigation, it looks like one of the French companies bought frozen meat from a trader in Cyprus, who had received the meat from a Dutch food company, who had received the meat from a Romanian supplier, reports AP.

Lasagna meals and burgers suspected of containing horsemeat have been pulled from shelves in Britain, Ireland, Sweden and France, according to AP.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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