No need to panic over horsemeat scandal: EU official

The EU's top health official on Friday said there was no need to panic over a Europe-wide horsemeat scandal, saying it was a labelling rather than a health issue.

"Till now this is not a issue," EU Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Tonio Borg told reporters during a visit to Athens.

"We should not create panic ourselves. Sometimes the reaction can be irrational. Unless there is proof that it is a food safety issue we will treat it as a labelling issue," Borg said.

Supermarkets across Europe have pulled millions of frozen ready meals from the shelves since last week, after tests revealed that large quantities of had made their way into products labelled as beef.

The scandal has exposed a sprawling web of abattoirs and meat suppliers—all of which deny fraudulently passing horsemeat off as beef—in countries including Britain, France, Luxembourg and Romania.

In addition to outrage from deceived consumers, there was concern after British officials revealed Thursday that the potentially harmful drug Phenylbutazone, a painkiller for horses more commonly known as 'bute', had been found in horse carcasses sent to France.

Borg said EU states had agreed to launch a three-month "systematic" inspection of animal and to determine the possible presence of the drug.

"We have one of the best food safety systems in the world," he said. "We have the tools to trace any product... in a question of a few hours practically or a few days."

"The physical trail has been established," he said.

burs-jph/yad

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU says too early to impose meat labelling

Feb 12, 2013

The European Commission said Tuesday it is too early to require labelling on meat used in processed foods despite growing uproar over horse meat being passed off as beef in frozen hamburgers and lasagne.

EU ministers tackle horsemeat scandal at crisis talks

Feb 13, 2013

EU ministers called in Europe's law enforcement agency Wednesday to help tackle a spreading crisis over mislabelled frozen meals containing horsemeat and promised a crash DNA food testing in an effort to restore consumer ...

UK: Horse drug may have entered human food chain

Feb 14, 2013

(AP)—Six horse carcasses that tested positive for an equine painkiller may have entered the human food chain in France, Britain's food regulator announced Thursday—and the agency's chief said horsemeat tainted with the ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments