10 Feb 2013

Penalties promised as horsemeat scandal spreads

1:20 pm on 10 February 2013

The French and British governments have promised to punish those found responsible for selling horsemeat in beef products at the heart of a growing scandal that started in Britain, but is now spreading.

In France, Comigiel, the manufacturer of ready-meals found to contain unlabelled horsemeat, says it will sue suppliers who had defrauded the company.

The BBC reports Spanghero, one of Comigiel's suppliers, is ready to sue a Romanian company it buys meat from.

"The meat was labelled beef," said company president Barthelemy Aguerre.

The French anti-fraud office is investigating a complex chain of instructions for ordering ready-meals from Comigel, which links France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Romania.

Other firms in Britain, the Irish Republic and Poland are also implicated in the scandal.

British environment secretary Owen Patterson met retailers, food producer groups and the Food Standards Agency on Saturday to ask how "beef" products containing up to 100% horsemeat were sold.

Mr Patterson added that "more bad news" could come from test results due on Friday.

The FSA was informed on Wednesday of the results of DNA testing of raw material at Comigel's factory.