Berlin: A German minister has suggested giving products mislabelled as beef products but actually containing horsemeat to the poor.
Development Minister Dirk Niebel suggested handing out mislabelled food products taken off the shelves because they contained horsemeat to the poor.
“More than 800 million people are dying of hunger in the world,” he told Saturday’s edition of Bild newspaper.
“And unfortunately in Germany there are also people for whom it is difficult financially, even for food... I think that we can’t here in Germany throw away good food,” he added.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ursula von der Leyen however dismissed the idea as “absurd”.
French President Francois Hollande, speaking during a visit to an agricultural show in Paris on Saturday, said he would push for mandatory labelling of meat in ready-made meals.
French firm Spanghero has been at the heart of the scandal after it allegedly passed off 750 tonnes of horsemeat as beef. The product eventually found its way into 4.5 million “beef” products sold across Europe.
French authorities had initially suspended the company’s sanitary licence, but following protests from 300-odd workers allowed the company to resume production of minced meat, sausages and ready-to-eat meals.
The company was banned, however, from stocking frozen meat.
Horsemeat found in beef products withdrawn from German shelves has been traced to a supplier in Poland, newsweekly Spiegel reported on Sunday, citing European officials.
Spiegel said that beef products with traces of horse found in goulash sold by low-cost retailer Aldi were produced by German firm Dreistern Konserven, which in turn bought its meat via a dealer from Mipol, a Polish-based firm.
Dreistern Konserven acknowledged in a statement on its website that traces of horse DNA had been discovered in its products but insisted it was merely a processing firm.
“Dreistern is not involved in slaughtering nor the chopping up of meat. It buys meat already chopped up, either fresh or frozen, only from certified meat deliverers,” the statement said.
Nearly 50,000 jars of this goulash were delivered to Aldi, said Spiegel, citing information from the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).
Spiegel also said another unnamed supplier in northern Poland had delivered some 20 tonnes of meat worth €60,000 (Dh290,810) to German firm Vossko via a Danish dealer.
Vossko supplies Liechtenstein-based firm Hilcona, which in turn supplies German firm Gusto, which manufactured beef tortelloni that was withdrawn from Austrian and German branches of budget food firm Lidl after horsemeat was discovered.