Cooperl says it did not knowingly sell meat contaminated with salmonella

Cooperl says it did not knowingly sell meat contaminated with salmonella

France's leading pork processor Cooperl has rejected allegations in a French newspaper report that it knowingly sold meat contaminated with salmonella before November 2012 using falsified documents.

According to the report in Le Télégramme, between 2010 and 2012, 1,500 tonnes of meat was used in the composition of prepared dishes such as ravioli and charcuterie products like salami, sausage and cocktail sausages. The lines were said to have been distributed in France and Russia.

The co-operative confirmed its premises were inspected by police in November 2012 "which revealed a probable misinterpretation on our part of the regulations in force".

Immediately after the inspection, Cooperl improved its analysis protocols for salmonella. "We are in full conformity with regulatory requirements relating to food quality and safety," a spokesperson said.

The Brittany-based group added: "We totally reject the allegations of fraud levelled at our company in this report which are completely unfounded." It underlined the suspected meat had not represented a health risk to consumers.

Last week, three Cooperl executives were detained in custody for 24 hours before being released.

The local prosecutor's office would only confirm a judicial investigation continued.