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Europe's Horse Meat Problems

From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report in Special English. Ikea recently recalled frozen meatballs from its European stores after tests found some contained horse meat.

Czech investigators said they found small amounts of horse meat in Swedish meatballs at an Ikea store in the Czech Republic. Ikea is the big Swedish company that sells furniture. But its stores also sell Swedish foods. The packaging said the meatballs contained beef and pork. Ikea said meatballs from the contaminated batch were sent to stores in some other European countries. They included Belgium, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.

Recently, laboratory tests found horse meat being sold as beef in a number of European Union countries. The EU law enforcement agency, Europol, is investigating the meat industry. Owen Paterson is the British environment secretary. He says the sale of horse meat as beef is unacceptable. He called it a fraud on the public. Millions of food items have been removed from stores, schools and hospitals. No one has reported any health problems, and the French eat horse meat. But the situation has upset consumers across Europe.

In Britain, horse meat was discovered in frozen meals sold by the Swedish-based frozen food company Findus. In France, an investigation has accused the French meat processing company Spanghero of knowingly selling horse meat as beef. The company denies the accusation. The EU requires the packaging of fresh meat to identify the country where it was produced. But in prepared meals only the kind of meat used is required to be listed.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 26Feb2013)