The Dutch food safety body NVWA is recalling millions of kilos of beef from all over Europe because it could be contaminated with horse meat, but much of it will already have been eaten.
Because the origins of the meat are not clear, its safety cannot be guaranteed, the watchdog said in a statement.
The meat was distributed to some 350 companies throughout Europe between January 1, 2011 and January 15 this year, Nos television said. It was sold by a wholesaler in Oss, which went bankrupt in February this year after the horse meat scandal broke.
Given the contamination may date back over two years, much of the meat will have been processed and eaten, Nos quoted the food safety body as saying. However, there is no evidence the meat poses a danger to health, the NVWA said.
Some 130 Dutch meat processors have been informed by letter they have two weeks to trace all consignments of meat, which could add up to some 50 million kilos.
The NVWA has also implemented European regulations to alert other EU countries to the possible contamination, in particular Germany, France and Spain.
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