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Environment Secretary: Horsemeat scandal is ‘sickening’

11 February 2013

Photo credit: David Jones/PA Wire
Photo credit: David Jones/PA Wire

As the horsemeat scandal continues to hit the headlines, Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has announced a series of crisis talks with ministers across Europe. Speaking with Sky News, Mr Paterson described the contamination as ‘sickening’.

An unprecedented product screening is currently underway in the UK, while the Romanian government is investigating whether horsemeat has been mis-labelled at abattoirs before being globally transported.

The Cabinet minister said: “I understand court cases will begin in certain continental countries today between processors and suppliers and I very much hope that this is resolved rapidly. I will be talking to ministerial counterparts in Europe today because it is absolutely intolerable that a fraud is being carried out on the public.”

Paterson added that he will update MPs later today, warning them that the current supply chain is flawed and that random testing and spot checks are being discussed. 

The Government is currently powerless to impose a ban on meat imports unless the contaminated beef is found to be a danger to the public’s health. However, Paterson believes that the UK is ‘bound’ by the rules of the European market.

“Should this move form an issue of labelling and fraud – and there is evidence of material which represents a serious threat to human health – I won’t hesitate to take action.”

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