Company reinstated after horsemeat scandal - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Company reinstated after horsemeat scandal

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By Ainsley Earhardt, FOX News

Horsemeat mislabeled as beef began turning up across Europe in January. At least some of the horsemeat originated from cattle farms in Romania and were later sold to the Netherlands.

Now one French company, Spanghero, has had their license reinstated, but more tests are underway.

Spanghero has resumed partial operations after the government accused them of selling horsemeat incorrectly labeled as beef.

"We have two objectives: to guarantee the customers' safety, and to allow people to get back to work. The workers aren't responsible for the fraud," said French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll.

Officials and Spanghero workers held talks over the weekend, resulting in the company's health certification reinstatement.  Inspectors found nothing wrong with tested sausages, ground meat and some cooked products.

However, frozen goods are still off-limits for the company.  Horsemeat has been found in frozen burgers, lasagna, beef pasta sauce and some of those products have shown up on restaurant menus and in school lunches.

"You would think that there would be some checks that the food that the children are eating is 100 percent what it says that they are eating," said a consumer.

British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says, "Nobody checks what's on the pallet often enough, nobody checks what's in production often enough, nobody checks the finished product often enough."

Millions of products have been pulled off shelves in at least 13 countries.  Samples of those items have been tested for horse DNA.

European officials suspect the incident is part of a bigger scam -- a conspiracy to pass off cheat horsemeat as more expensive beef.

Members of the European Parliament took up the issue Monday, discussing if this was a serious health problem or just a mislabeling mishap.

"How can it be that in one country that you have a fine of a hundred euros for mislabeling perhaps, and another country actually says that serious sanctions will be carried out?" asked British Parliament member Chris Davies.

Officials say horsemeat itself is not dangerous to eat, but an anti-inflammatory aid consumed by some horses is dangerous for human consumption.

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