Sunday 18 August 2019

Food safety inspectors ordered to publish horse meat customers’ names

Horse meat steak.Food campaign group Foodwatch has won a case against the food safety authority, forcing it to reveal the names of  companies which bought meat potentially contaminated with horse.

The food safety board NVWA had refused to publish the names of all the products which might have been contaminated following the horse meat scandal of two years ago.

In April, meat trader Willy Selten was found guilty of mixing over 300,000 kilos of horse into products which were labelled as pure beef over a two year period. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

The court in Amsterdam found in favour of Foodwatch which wanted a publication of the complete list of products and brand names which were potentially contaminated. The NVWA had published a partial list last November, but Foodwatch said it did not go far enough.

The NVWA said on Wednesday it was studying the court ruling before making a decision on whether to reveal the names of companies which bought the contaminated meat between 2011 and 2013.

Foodwatch welcomed Wednesday’s ruling but said it had still taken too long for the public to be briefed.

Speed

‘Food is eaten quickly and when fraud is involved, information should be made public as soon as possible,’ a spokesman said.

The economic affairs ministry, which runs the food safety board, refused to publish the full list of names, saying it would be unreasonably detrimental to companies which had not done anything wrong.

The court said in its ruling that the ministry could make it clear when publishing the names that the fact a product had been recalled did not necessarily mean the meat was contaminated.

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