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Horsemeat found in lasagne of Swiss supermarket chain

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 13 Feb 2013 16:50 GMT
Author: Reuters
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ZURICH, Feb 13 (Reuters) - 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.

Switzerland's Coop had already withdrawn the suspect lasagne from its freezers earlier in the week for tests, which confirmed on Wednesday the products contained horsemeat.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. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alison Williams)

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