Breda meat company implicated in widening horsemeat scandal

Breda-based meat trading group Nemijtek has been visited by food safety inspectors in connection with the ongoing horsemeat scandal, local broadcaster Omroep Brabant said on Wednesday.

The company has been named in British media reports as being involved in the scandal, in which horsemeat, possibly from Romania, was passed off as beef.

The broadcaster says workers at the plant said inspectors took samples of meat away for testing and ordered stocks to be retained on site until the tests were competed.

The company said it does stock Romanian horsemeat but it leaves the premises described as horse.

Horsemeat has been found in products said to be 100% beef in Britain, Sweden, Ireland and Poland in recent days. In particular, frozen lasagne from a French firm was found to be up to 100% horse. French officials said a Dutch meat trader had a pivotal role in the supply chain.

Horse steaks

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 consumer 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.

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