Sales of horsemeat up in France

Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:10 PM

PARIS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- French horse butchers report the horsemeat scandal that has hit the European food industry has sent their sales up.

Interbev Equins, the country's horsemeat industry association, says sales have increased about 15 percent after years of decline, Radio France Internationale reported. But sales of products involving ground beef are down, with Fraisnor, a company in northern France that makes lasagne, reporting a 70 percent drop.

The scandal began in Britain and Ireland when ground beef products were tested and found to contain horse DNA.

The French working class turned to the horse in the revolutionary late 18th century, converting aristocrats' horses into food. But in the past 30 years consumption has dwindled from more than 3 pounds a head to about two-thirds of a pound.

"People had forgotten about horsemeat," a buyer who identified herself only as Nicole told RFI. "The scandal has made them think about it again."

Nicole buys ground horsemeat once a week from Jacques Leban, a horse butcher in Paris. She says it has to be eaten promptly so she buys it in the morning once a week and eats it for lunch.

Leban said his sales are up 40 percent. He has a sign in the window to reassure his customers that what he sells is meat entirely from horses raised in France.

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