Germany eyes sanctions over horsemeat

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Berlin - Germany said on Monday that it planned to tighten checks and sanctions on food production under an action plan to counter Europe's scandal over horsemeat sold as beef.

The 10-point plan agreed by the federal and regional consumer affairs ministers aims to shed light on the mislabelling of meat products, a regional minister said after the scandal embroiled a string of European countries, including Germany.

“Germany will do more than the EU will do. We will investigate more than the EU has agreed to,” Lucia Puttrich, the western state of Hesse's consumer affairs minister said three days after the EU approved a testing plan.

Other measures targeted include improving company oversight systems as well as creating requirements for companies to share information with authorities.

Ministers also agreed to examine the framework of sanctions including fines.

“Tricking, cheating, deceiving must not be worth it,” Puttrich warned.

German Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner said an early warning system should also be examined.

Traces of horsemeat were detected in processed meals in Germany last week hitting a number of supermarket chains.

They have also been discovered in beef tortellini manufactured in Germany by a Liechtenstein-based group, Hilcona, and sold by budget retailer Lidl.

Hilcona said the product was delivered by German company Vossko, which in turn said it must have come from one of its own suppliers, three of which are in Germany, the other “European”.

It also said it was conducting tests on meat processed in the last nine months and expected the result on Tuesday. - Sapa-AFP


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