HORSEMEAT: Recalls in Norway, Belgium and Switzerland

By Michelle Russell | 14 February 2013

Switzerlands Coop, Albert Heijn stores in Belgium and all major grocery chains across Norway have recalled frozen products

Switzerland's Coop, Albert Heijn stores in Belgium and all major grocery chains across Norway have recalled frozen products

Retailers in Norway, Belgium and Switzerland have become the latest to pull products from shelves amid concerns their lines could contain horsemeat.

In what has become a Europe-wide issue, all major grocery chains in Norway have recalled frozen products they suspect may contain horsemeat. Swiss retailer Coop has also delisted a product. Dutch retailer Ahold has recalled a lasagne line from its Albert Heijn stores in Belgium, as well as the Netherlands.

In Norway, the country's food standards authority said all major grocers had pulled goods from their shelves, and as a result found it unnecessary to carry DNA testing on the products. FSA head Randi Edvardsen said DNA testing could eventually be used for suspected fraud.

Edvardsen said Norway slaughters around 1,600 horses annually and that the FSA has now tightened compliance documentation requirements for horses that go to slaughter, which includes having a valid passport and health card. Where a product contains horsemeat, it should be labelled as so on the product packaging, he added.

In Switzerland, a spokesperson for Coop told just-food today (14 February) it has pulled its Lazagne verdi alla bolognese from shelves. The product was recalled on Monday, with tests on the product commencing the following day.

"The lasagna was recalled on Monday, as a reaction to media outlets and an information from the supplier. It was not clear then whether there was indeed horse meat in the lasagna or not."

The Coop spokesperson said the manufacturer of the product was French firm Comigel, one of the companies at the centre of the saga. Comigel was the supplier of Findus frozen products recalled in recent days across Europe because they contain horsemeat.

Ahold told just-food it recalled its Euro Shopper frozen lasagna bolognaise across its Belgian and Netherlands stores last Friday due to "suspicions it could contain horsemeat".

"After investigating a sample of our recalled product we today have come to the conclusion some of it indeed contains horse meat where it says beef on pack," the spokesperson said. "As soon as we learned the results of the investigation, we have started a recall of the product. We are contacting our customers, inviting them to return the Euro Shopper frozen lasagna bolognaise to our stores and get their money back."

The spokesperson said the supplier, as named on its packaging, is Tavola, a company linked to Comigel.

The Netherlands yesterday also become embroiled in the horse meat scandal, which has taken in processors and retailers across the continent, with Findus at its centre.

Findus admitted last week its frozen lasagnes on sale in the UK could contain up to 100% horse meat. The company, owned by private-equity firm Lion Capital, has also had to recall products on sale in France and Sweden.

This week, major retail chains in France, including Carrefour and Casino, recalled Findus products and those manufactured by Comigel. German retailer Tengelmann also confirmed its Kaiser's supermarket chain had pulled frozen lasagnes from shelves.

Sectors: Food safety, Frozen, Meat & poultry, Private label, Retail

Companies: Ahold, Findus, Lion Capital, Carrefour, Casino

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