The health services of the Ministry of Agriculture have found “795 kilos” of rotten Polish meat in “nine companies” in the agri-food sector in France, Minister Didier Guillaume announced on Friday February 1st.
Of this total, “150 kilos have already been recovered” in French processing companies “duped”, said the minister, questioned on CNews, two days after the announcement by the prosecutor’s office in Ostroleka in Poland of the opening of ‘an investigation into the slaughter and marketing of sick cattle by a local slaughterhouse, part of which was distributed in countries of the European Union.
“I think that during the day we will know where we are” for the remaining 650 kilos, “the traceability of the products when they arrive in France works rather well” reassured the minister. “We do not know if they went into commerce, it could have remained in fridges,” he said.
“It is a terrible fraud, an economic fraud, a health fraud of a Polish slaughterhouse”, judged the French minister. “We learned about this the day before last night and put all of our teams on it.”
Inspection in Poland
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andiukaitis announced an inspection in Poland next week and called on Polish authorities to ensure compliance with European standards. Poland is a major exporter of meat to Europe.
The case was revealed by an investigation of a journalist in Poland, of the commercial channel TVN24, who spent three weeks in the slaughterhouse of Kalinowo. He published images of cattle dragged around their necks, obviously sick, squeezed into a truck, then piled up carcasses and wedges of meat visibly unfit for sale.
The Polish Minister of Agriculture acknowledged the fraud, stressing that it was an “isolated incident”. “We are dealing with a pathology: on one site, sick cows were slaughtered without the knowledge and without the green light of the veterinarians,” he told the public channel TVP Info.
The head of the Polish veterinary services, Pawel Niemczuk, for his part declared that “2.7 tonnes were sold to EU member countries” (Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Romania, Sweden, France, Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia), while 7 tonnes of meat from this slaughter were distributed to around 20 points of sale in Poland.
Slovak authorities have also discovered at least three consignments of beef imported from Poland, which they believe are linked to the case.