Blog: Horsemeat scandal jumps continents

Michelle Russell | 21 February 2013

It appears no country, or indeed continent is immune to the horsemeat scandal that has gripped Europe in the last month, with Asia the next in the frame.

Hong Kong has now been drawn into the saga, with one of its biggest supermarket chains ParknShop having recalled an imported lasagne brand from its shelves.

According to Sky News, officials ordered ParknShop decided to pull the product due to it potentially having being "adulterated with horsemeat which has not undergone tests for veterinary drugs".

The chain, owned by tycoon Li Ka-shing, has around 280 stores across Hong Kong and the neighbouring gaming hub of Macau.

It is believe to be only one contaminated product that has so far been sold in Hong Kong but the issue just serves to highlight the severity of the contamination scare and how quickly a food security issue can jump continents.

Back in Europe, however, and the Czech Republic is the latest country to become embroiled in the saga.

Food inspectors have reportedly ordered Tesco to withdraw Nowaco brand frozen beef lasagne after horsemeat was found in the product. Tesco, which has pulled a number of products in the UK in the last month containing horse meat, was one of the first retailers to pull frozen burgers from sale in January when the contamination first came to light.

The Co-operative Group was also one of those and the retailer today issued an open apology to customers, promising "greater supply chain rigour" following the scandal.

Chief executive Peter Marks told the BBC1's Six O'clock and Ten O'clock news: "Food retailers can't duck this. We can't blame the government, we can't blame the regulator - the FSA - we can't blame our suppliers. When we sell products in our shops it's our responsibility."

And so it appears to be a week of apologies by retailers.

Indeed, Iceland Foods made its own this week. Not for the sale of contaminated products, but for the words of its chief executive Malcolm Walker on BBC1's Panorama programme this week.

The Iceland founder said: "Well, that's the Irish isn't it", after presenter Richard Bilton said Irish authorities said 0.1% horse meat has been found in Iceland burgers.

While retailers work on drafting up their apologies, they might also be busy watching for a second round of testing being carried out by the UK's Food Standards Agency, due in tomorrow.

 


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