retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The BBC reports that the horse meat scandal, which originally seemed focused on the UK and Ireland, now has spread to at least 16 European countries and there are concerns that this is not accidental contamination but rather "the work of a criminal conspiracy."

French ministers, the story says, are conducting talks with meat industry companies, and "seven French supermarket chains ... have already withdrawn some of their frozen meat-based meals, including lasagne, from the shelves."

It is a complicated story, as this passage from the story suggests:

"An initial investigation by French officials revealed that French firm Poujol bought the frozen meat from a Cypriot trader, France's Junior Minister for Consumer Goods, Benoit Hamon, said in a statement on Sunday.

"The trader had, in turn, received it from a Dutch food trader, and that Dutch company had purchased the meat from two Romanian slaughterhouses.

"Poujol supplied the meat to a Luxembourg factory owned by French group Comigel.

"The meat was then sold under the Sweden-based brand, Findus, which has said it has been misled by its Romanian meat supplier."
KC's View:
At the very least, it seems like EU food labeling protocols have broken down, with far less attention being paid to things like accuracy and certification that should have been.

The long-term question is whether this is going to have any impact on consumer confidence. I'm pretty sure of one thing - if I lived in Europe, I probably would not be eating any beef for the foreseeable future.