Changes to France’s laws on food labelling and traceability look set to be introduced in the wake of the horse meat contamination that has engulfed the country’s food sector.
Plans to change the rules were agreed following a meeting in Paris between government ministers, food manufacturers and retailers.
The meeting agreed on a commitment to modify regulations on the labelling and traceability of food products, notably for frozen ready meals.
However, no information has emerged at this stage on the specific measures envisaged and the time-frame for their introduction.
The meeting was held to discuss the crisis, which has French firms at its centre. Last week,Findus recalled products in France, the UK and Sweden that contained horse meat labelled as beef. The products were made by French firm Comigel, with ingredients supplied by another local company Spanghero.
France’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs has told just-food it expects to publish the findings of inspections of Comigel and Spanghero on Thursday.
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Inspections by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Prevention of Fraud (DGCCRF) were carried out on Monday at Comigel and Spanghero to find out who was responsible for labelling the horse meat as beef.
Consumer minister Benoit Hamon underlined the investigations had sought to verify all documents at Comigel and Spanghero to obtain assurances all products containing horse meat had been removed from sale.
He said if it emerged passing off horse meat was a deliberate act, the case would be referred to France’s public prosecutor.