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Horse meat could damage Romania's image

Feb. 11, 2013 at 8:39 AM

BUCHAREST, Romania, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Romanian President Traian Basescu said if horse meat passed off as beef is found to have come from his country it could provoke trade embargoes.

Frozen, ready-made meals by Findus and Comigel -- distributed in Britain and France -- were found to have had up to 100 percent horse meat in them, but the two companies said they believe they are victims of fraud, the BBC reported.

The supplier of the meat to the companies, Spanghero, said it is also the victim of fraud and that it intends to sue its Romanian suppliers.

French Minister Benoit Hamon suggested the meat could be traced from Spanghero to a Cypriot merchant, to a Dutch supplier, who in turn bought the meat from Romanian slaughterhouses, Romania-insider.com reported.

Romanian officials announced they are investigating the possibility the tainted meat came from their slaughterhouses, the BBC reported.

Basescu said it could damage Romania's image if the meat is traced back to its slaughterhouses.

Constantin Savu of Romania's food safety authority said some slaughterhouses are permitted to butcher horse meat and sell it in the European Union.

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