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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 14.04.2021, 23:37

Lithuania's Andriukaitis on Polish beef scandal: crime has been committed

BC, Vilnius, 01.02.2019.Print version
A crime has been committed in Poland and it involved not only specific companies but also suppliers and intermediaries, Lithuanian European Commissioner for Health and Foods Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis says after Poland exported unsafe beef to Lithuania and other EU member states. informed LETA/BNS.

In his words, this incident shows a lack of proper veterinary control.

"Criminal activity took place, and now Polish prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings and will have to identify the participants and the whole shadow economy. Obviously, not one slaughterhouse was involved, there should have been also suppliers, and those who acted as intermediaries," Andriukaitis told.

An audit is now underway in Poland, he said, aimed at finding out where else unsafe meat could have been exported.

Inspectors from the Lithuanian State Food and veterinary Service have found out that 80 kg of meat from the Polish meat processing company Zaklad Miesny have been bought by Lithuania's Bidfood Lietuva and Krekenavos Agrofirma. The meat has already been destroyed.

A small amount of beef from a Polish slaughterhouse where sick cattle were illegally butchered to be sold as meat has ended up in Latvia's Lido restaurant chain, Ilze Meistere, a spokeswoman for the Food and Veterinary Service, told LETA.

The representative of the food safety authority said that Lido had received a total of 27 kilos of beef.

Mestere said that Lido will have to destroy the meat that is being kept at the storehouse. A probe is under way to trace the remaining 18 kilograms to establish if this meat has already been used for making meals.

The representative of the Food and Veterinary Service assured that the meat is not dangerous for human health if it has been cooked.

"A tracing system provided by the company enabled the service to quickly establish the remaining amount of the purchased ingredient and in which products the meat has been used, as well as to ensure that the ingredient and products are recalled from the market," Meistere said.

Meanwhile, the head of Lido's Quality Control and Product Development Department Gunita Daine told LETA that it has been able to determine that nine out of the 27 kilograms of meat is still in the company's storehouses and will be exterminated. She also said that the remaining 18 kilograms has been included in the company's sausage products, and that these too are still in the company's storehouse and will be exterminated. Daine said that none of the unsafe meat has been sent to any food service providers.

Panorama, the evening news program of Latvian Television, reported on Thursday that sick cows had been illegally butchered at a slaughterhouse in Poland to be exported as beef. Representatives of the Food and Veterinary Service commented that Latvia imports virtually no fresh beef from Poland and that most of the beef imported from Poland is processed meat which has undergone additional checks.

All in all, around 2,400 tons of meat have been exported to EU counties, according to Andriukaitis. According to the Polish veterinary service, unsafe beef of unclear origin has also been sold not only in Poland but also Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Lithuania.

The European Commission has already ordered for the unsafe beef to be removed from the market.

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