Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Nestle Recalls Products as Horse Meat Crisis Grows

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Nestle Recalls Products as Horse Meat Crisis Grows

Article excerpt

The involvement of one of the world's best-known food companies has more Europeans questioning the contents of their meals.

The scandal over beef products adulterated with horse meat escalated across the Continent on Tuesday after Nestle, one of the world's best-known food companies, said it was removing pasta meals from store shelves in Italy and Spain.

Nestle said late Monday that it would remove two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini, from Italian and Spanish supermarket shelves immediately. Meanwhile, Lasagnes a la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product made for the catering trade in France, will also be withdrawn and replaced with a product containing meat made from 100 percent beef.

The company added that it had increased testing after the discovery of horse meat in British foods and "traces" of horse DNA in two products made with beef supplied by a German company, H.J. Schypke.

The levels exceeded the threshold used by the British Food Standards Agency in testing to indicate that a substance had been adulterated, so the products would be withdrawn from the market, Nestle said.

"There is no food safety issue, but the mislabeling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us," Nestle added.

The involvement of Nestle, based in Switzerland, marked another significant act in a fast-moving drama that is prompting Europeans to question the contents of their meals.

Nestle knows only too well the importance of image, having once been the object of a boycott after being embroiled in a controversy over the marketing of baby milk in developing countries.

Although the horse meat crisis has been seen mainly as an issue of fraud and mislabeling, it emerged last week that a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone, or bute, may have entered the food chain. …

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