European Horsemeat Scandal Expands

France, Sweden, and The Netherlands have confirmed products sold within their borders could contain horsemeat.

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As the European horsemeat scandal grows to include more countries, government officials are turning their attention towards faults in complex, multi-national supply chains and possible foul play.

"It is unacceptable that people have been deceived in this way," said the U.K. environment secretary Owen Patterson. He said he suspects "international criminal conspiracy," according to Reuters media.

France, Sweden, and The Netherlands have now all confirmed that horsemeat is present or likely to be present in commercial products marketed as containing 100% beef, according to various media reports. Poland was initially blamed for providing horsemeat instead of beef, but Poland has denied the claims, Reuters reported.

Investigations have traced the source of horsemeat found in French food products to two Romanian slaughterhouses, according to the Romanian Minister of Agriculture Daniel Constantin, DVM. However, Romanian officials insist that there was no mislabeling of meat on their end. The Brasov-based CarmOlimp slaughterhouse has declared that it exported only horsemeat in 2012 and that there was therefore no risk of mislabeling, Constantin said in a press release over the weekend. The slaughterhouse referred to the scandal as "shameful" and indicated that the food manufacturers further down the line would have to be lacking in competency to mistake horsemeat for beef

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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