Horsemeat scandal reveals supply chain failures

Horsemeat scandal reveals supply chain failures

11th February 2013

The recent scandal involving the revelations over the presence of horsemeat in beef products have exposed weaknesses within the European food supply chain.

Following on from investigations by the UK government and various internal explorations by food retailers, consumers in Britain and France have been told that Romanian horsemeat has been used in a range of beef products. These revelations prompted supermarkets and suppliers to withdraw items from the shelves.

This weekend gone, supermarket chains in France removed various lines in what has been described as a severe case of fraud, compounded by the meandering supply chains that complicate the tracing of the beefs origins.

Discoveries in one of the companies supply chain highlighted in the headlines in the UK press last week have further identified the vulnerability in these supply chains which stretch across Europe.

The company in question, Findus, is supplied by a company based in northeastern France called Comigel, which makes similar products for food suppliers and retailers in 16 countries. The Findus products revealed to contain horsemeat in the UK came from a Comigel factory in Luxembourg.

In turn, Comigel was supplied with meat from a company in southwestern France called Spanghero, whose parent is called Poujol.

Head of Findus in France, Matthieu Lambeaux, said the company had been tricked and would file a lawsuit on Monday against an unnamed party for fraud.

He said,

We thought we had certified French beef in our products. But in reality, we were supplied with Romanian horsemeat. We have been deceived.

In addition, UK ministers have warned consumers to expect further bad news this week as investigations pursue the true origins of many of the beef products that have appeared on supermarket shelves.

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