Poland says it exported suspect beef to EU

Polish authorities say 2.7 tons of potentially tainted beef was exported to EU countries. The announcement comes after a television report cast light on the sale of meat from sick cows by two companies.

Polish authorities on Thursday announced that 2,700 kilograms of tainted beef were exported to European Union countries.

Nature and Environment | 10.01.2019

The country's chief veterinary officer, Pawel Niemczuk, said the meat went to Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Estonia, Finland, France, Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.

"Our neighbors were asking about details of actions we have taken. I have convinced most of the countries that this situation in Poland was an individual case," Niemczuk said. "The produce is being voluntarily withdrawn."

Read more: Meat labels misleading EU consumers, says watchdog report

Nature and Environment | 17.10.2018

The announcement comes days after an investigative report aired on local broadcaster TVN, with hidden camera footage showing a slaughterhouse butchering sick cows.

The abattoir supplies more than 20 meat processing plants. 

Food scandals in Germany

Toxic eggs

Millions of eggs had to be recalled in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany after they were found to contain the insecticide fipronil. The highly toxic substance can cause damage to the liver, thyroid glands and kidneys if ingested in large amounts. More than 150 poultry farms in the Netherlands had to be shut down and a number of German supermarkets pulled eggs from their shelves.

Food scandals in Germany

Beef with Brazil

A number of countries banned meat imports from Brazil in March 2017 after a police investigation found meat packers had been selling rotten produce. In some cases, carcinogenic chemicals had been used to mask the smell of bad meat. Germany imported around 114,000 tons of meat and meat products from Brazil in 2016. But German authorities said no tainted meat had been sold in the country.

Food scandals in Germany

Mice in Bavarian bakeries

Earlier this year, German consumer protection group Foodwatch reported that mold and mice had been uncovered in several large-scale Bavarian bakeries. The watchdog cited the results of 69 inspections between 2013 and 2016. Rodent hair and chew marks were found on one bakery's goods. Another establishment had cockroaches crawling through flour and a mound of rodent feces baked into a wheat roll.

Food scandals in Germany

Horsemeat lasagna anyone?

In 2013, millions of people across Europe discovered that a number of meat products passed off as being pork or beef were in fact horsemeat. It all started when Irish food safety inspectors detected horsemeat in frozen beef burgers. Further investigation found that ready-to-eat meals in a number of EU countries, including Germany, also contained horsemeat.

Food scandals in Germany

Strawberry surprise

In 2012, more than 11,000 German schoolchildren were taken ill with vomiting and diarrhea because they ate from the same batch of deep-frozen strawberries. The mass food poisoning spanned almost 500 schools and day care centers in the east of the country. Fortunately, many of the victims had a speedy recovery. Only 32 were taken to hospital.

Food scandals in Germany

Dioxin health scare

In early 2011, thousands of German farms, most of them in the state of Lower Saxony, were temporarily shut after they received animal feed laced with dioxine. German officials said the tainted feed had been fed to hens and pigs, contaminating eggs, poultry meat and some pork. Contaminated exports were shipped as far as Britain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Poland.

Food scandals in Germany

E. coli outbreak

Also in 2011, a strain of Escherichia coli O104:H4, a bacteria found in vegetables, caused a deadly outbreak of illness in northern Germany. More than 4,000 people were infected - showing symptoms like bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure. More than 50 people died. A sprout farm in Lower Saxony is believed to be the source of the outbreak.

The report triggered immediate inspections and widespread concern over food safety standards.

The Czech Republic announced this week it was stepping up its controls on beef imported from Poland.

"The protection of our consumers is the highest priority for me," said Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman.

Poland produces about 560,000 tonnes of beef a year, with 85 percent exported.

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