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Horsemeat in Swiss chain’s lasagne

Zurich - Swiss supermarket chain Coop has found horsemeat in its own-brand lasagne, which has the same French supplier, Comigel, at the heart of a scandal in Britain.

Growing revelations about the use of horsemeat in products labelled beef have raised questions about the safety of the European food supply chain and prompted governments to send out a European Union-wide alert.

An open 500g size box of a Coop Qualite & Prix Lasagne Verdi Bolognese is seen after its purchase from a Coop supermarket in Zurich, February 12, 2013. Coop took the Qualite & Prix Lasagne Verdi Bolognese with beef meat from its French supplier Comigel, produced in Luxembourg, as a precaution in the last days out of their assortment. The Lasagne Verdi Bolognese contains elements of horsemeat, the company said on Wednesday. The horsemeat scandal affecting a growing number of European countries began in Ireland after its food safety authority discovered horsemeat in frozen beef burgers. Picture taken February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer. Credit: REUTERS

Switzerland's Coop had already withdrawn the suspect lasagne from its freezers earlier in the week for tests, which confirmed on Wednesday the products contained horsemeat. A Coop spokesman said customers could get their money back.

While Swiss consumers do eat horsemeat on occasion, they are extremely sensitive about the origin of their meat products with strict labelling requirements in force.

The British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne last week on advice from Comigel, after tests showed concentrations of horsemeat ranging from 60 to 100 percent.

Swiss food group Nestle, which sold the rights to the Findus brand in most of Europe in 2000 but retained them in Switzerland, launched a campaign this week to reassure consumers that Swiss Findus products were only made from Swiss beef.

The scandal first broke on Jan. 15 when routine tests by Irish authorities discovered horsemeat in beefburgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer. - Reuters

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