EU countries OK plan for random checks of beef

EU countries approve a plan to more intensive testing to detect horsemeat in beef

Associated Press
Britain finds horsemeat in school meals, hospitals
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Spanghero's sales director Christophe Giry answers reporters, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Castelnaudary, southern France. Spanghero company is at the heart of a growing uproar over horsemeat mislabeled as beef and hidden in frozen meals. Fraudulent meat sales reached across 13 countries and 28 companies, French officials say, primarily blaming the wholesaler in Castelnaudary. (AP Photo/Bruno Martin)

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Officials from European Union countries are going ahead with a plan for more intensive checks to detect horsemeat in food labeled as beef as they work to contain a widening scandal.

The emergency meeting Friday in Brussels was designed to restore consumer confidence following the discovery of significant amounts of horsemeat in products sold as beef. Millions of burgers and frozen meals have been recalled across Europe.

In addition, horsemeat will be tested for phenylbutazone, or bute, an anti-inflammatory veterinary drug that's illegal to use in animals used for food.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg welcomed the approval, saying, "consumers expect the EU, national authorities and all those involved in the food chain to give them all the reinsurance needed as regards what they have in their plates."