Horsemeat scandal hits Auchan and El Corte Inglés

Traces of horsemeat DNA have been found in burgers, lasagna and meatballs sold by Auchan and El Corte Inglés, revealed Portugal’s consumer watchdog DECO.

Following DNA testing, Auchan burgers and Polegar meatballs (a brand sold by Auchan) had less than 1% trace of horse DNA while tests conducted on lasagna sold at El Corte Inglés revealed between 1% and 5% horse DNA.

Soon after DECO had collected 30 samples of burgers, cannelloni, meatballs and lasagnas for laboratory analysis, the stores decided to remove the products from their shelves as a precautionary measure, confirmed the consumer protection body following a recent visit to present the results.

DECO calls for “transparency” and demands new labelling laws to ensure meat origin is displayed on the product. It also urges the government to reinforce a regular inspection regime of processed meat products available on the market.

“So far there is no evidence that the horsemeat detected represents a risk to the consumer. But it is unacceptable that this information does not appear on the labels,” said DECO, adding that consumer trust has been broken.

DECO believes that the growing number of intermediaries and suppliers in the food chain is making it difficult for the authorities to get to the bottom of the horsemeat scandal.

The horsemeat fraud began in mid-January when food inspectors detected horsemeat in frozen beef burgers sold in supermarket chains, including Tesco, the UK’s top retailer (see last week’s Algarve Resident for ‘Meat scandal continues’).