Horse meat products to be donated

Some of the meat-based products that were apprehended in February by the Portuguese food safety authority (ASAE) for containing traces of horse meat will be donated to social solidarity institutions, according to Lusa news agency.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (PGR) stated that the 79 tons of meat confiscated was divided into three parts. One will be donated to social solidarity institutions, after it was proven to not represent a health hazard, while the other two parts will either be returned to their producers, if they do not contain horse meat, or retained by the authorities while legal cases continue.

However, so far, only the União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP), a group of state-funded charitable institutions, has confirmed having been informally contacted by the PGR regarding the possibility of receiving the food.

The president of UMP, Manuel Lemos, said that if a formal proposal was made they would respond positively. He believes that if the meat is suitable for consumption, it makes sense to provide it to the institutions, especially during these difficult times.

Both the Confederation of National Solidarity Institutions and the Food Bank Against Hunger said they had not received any products yet but were willing to as long as their quality was acceptable.

Seven out the 14 queries launched by the PGR have been archived, after several lasagnes, cannelloni, hamburgers and meatballs were found to contain horse meat, although they were labelled as beef.