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France hunting fraudsters in horse meat scandal

PARIS — Europe's horse meat scandal is spreading and threatening cross-border tensions, as France says Romanian butchers and Dutch and Cypriot traders were part of a supply chain that resulted in horse meat disguised as beef being sold in frozen lasagna around the continent.

No one has reported health risks from the mislabeled meat, but it has unsettled consumers across Europe.

Accusations are flying. In France, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called it "disgusting," and consumer safety authorities increased inspections of the country's meat business, from slaughterhouses to supermarkets.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said Sunday that his country could face potential export restrictions and lose credibility "for many years" if the Romanian butchers turn out to be the root of the problem.

The motivation for passing off horse meat as beef appeared to be financial, and authorities are concentrating on pursuing anyone guilty of fraud in the affair, said France's junior minister for consumer goods, Benoit Hamon.

An affair that started this year with worries about horse meat in burgers in Ireland and Britain has spread into a Europe-wide scandal. The European Union commissioner for agriculture is meeting today with Romania's foreign minister about the latest horse meat worries.

France hunting fraudsters in horse meat scandal 02/10/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:04pm]
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