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12 February 2013
ROMANIA / UK / FRANCE / SWEDEN / EU : 14 Feb UPDATE: Ag Ministers Meet In Brussels; Bucharest Resents Blame For Horsemeat Scandals.
The EU's Ag ministers are holding an emergency meeting in Brussels over the mislabeled horse meat scandal...seeking to restore consumer confidence...after mislabeled 'beef' products were sold in 16 countries.
Other officials are concerned about the possible presence of 'bute'...a horse medication/pain killer...that can be toxic to humans.
UK tabloids have headlined the growing scandal...as 'Hoof Done It'...and ...'Nagging Doubts.'
Distressed French supplier Comigel is now fingering 2 Romanian slaughterhouses...as the source of cheap horsemeat used in place of more expensive beef.
But in Bucharest...it is no laughing matter.
A food executive there even says the charges are tinged with 'racism.'
PM Viktor Ponta is upset over unproven allegations.
He says Romanians love horses as much as Brits do.
Romania has about 630,000 horses...and their meat is seldom consumed by locals.
Swedish food producer Findus has called in police to investigate...after horsemeat was found in much of its frozen 'beef' lasagna.
Findus is also beginning legal action against supplier Comigel.
Comigel's French meat processor...Spanghero...is now being scrutinized.
Spanghero blames 2 Romanian firms.
ALSO: Some blame extreme poverty in Romania for the current horse meat problem... where agriculture is outdated...and not mechanized.