French: Spanghero to blame for horsemeat fraud

French probe finds wholesaler Spanghero to blame for horsemeat fraud that hit 13 countries

Associated Press
French: Spanghero to blame for horsemeat fraud
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Political artist Kaya Mar poses for photographs with his horsemeat scandal painting which depicts French President, Francois Hollande, and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in London, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. British authorities on Tuesday raided a slaughterhouse and a meat processing company suspected of selling horsemeat labeled as beef for kebabs and burgers, shutting them down temporarily and seizing all the meat found. Millions of burgers and frozen meals have been recalled around Europe and many accusations have been made, but so far it's not clear how horsemeat got introduced into so many beef products. French authorities have already pointed to an elaborate supply chain that involved Romanian butchers and Dutch and Cypriot traders that resulted in horsemeat disguised as beef being sold in meals like lasagne and moussaka to consumers around the continent. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

PARIS (AP) -- A French minister says the French meat wholesaler Spanghero is to blame for fraudulently labeling horsemeat as beef.

Benoit Hamon, the French economy minister, says Spanghero officials were fully aware that the cheaper horsemeat was mislabeled. The agriculture minister said the company has been immediately suspended.

A French investigation has found that the horsemeat scandal has spread to involve 13 countries and 28 companies.

Hamon said a total of 750 tons of horsemeat was involved.

He said Spanghero had received a shipment of horsemeat from a Dutch middleman and passed it off as beef upon reselling it to a frozen food processor.

He also said the processor, Comigel, should have realized the problem as soon as the meat was thawed if they had not already noticed the questionable paperwork.

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