The Dutch food safety authority is looking into reports that several Dutch firms are involved in the British ‘horse meat in burgers’ scandal, the Telegraph reports.
‘We will be looking into a few companies as part of a first investigation,’ a spokesman told the paper.
Officials believe the horse meat in burgers sold by British supermarkets came from contaminated ‘filler’ imported from Holland.
Under Dutch regulations, if a company is found to have deliberately passed off horse meat as beef, the maximum fine is just €1,050, the paper said.
Horse steaks used to be a popular meat in the Netherlands but are now much less widely eaten. Instead, horse is used to bulk out more expensive meat in snack products.
Checks on popular Dutch snacks such as bitterballen carried out by Wageningen University in 2007 found horse meat was included in 32% of them. And in 2008, a television consumers programme found horse was still used by many producers of frikandellen.
The Netherlands is also a major processor of horse meat imported from abroad, largely from South America.