France traces all suspect Polish beef, says some already sold

France's agriculture ministry said Saturday it had traced the remainder of suspect Polish beef imported into the country, adding that some of it had been sold to consumers.

France traces all suspect Polish beef, says some already sold
The Elkopol slaughterhouse in Kalinowo, western Poland. Photo: AFP

“The remaining 145 kilos have been identified in lots prepared by wholesalers, butchers or restaurants,” a statement said. 

In total, France imported 795 kg of meat from a Polish slaughterhouse where allegedly sick cows were butchered. Five hundred kilos were found and destroyed earlier and 150 kilos sold to consumers with the remaining 145 kilos unaccounted for until Saturday.

A ministry official told AFP that some of the remaining 145 kilos had already been sold.

“What is complicated is that the 145 kilos were mixed with meat of other origin” by a wholesaler.

“At this stage a few dozen restaurants and butchers' shops are concerned, mainly in the Paris region,” a statement said.

French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has said nine French companies had been “duped” into importing beef from the Elkopol abattoir in Kalinowo, a village some 100 kilometres northeast of Warsaw.

Poland's chief veterinarian Pawel Niemczuk has confirmed that 2.7 tonnes of the suspect beef was exported to 13 EU countries. But Polish authorities have said the meat does not pose a health risk.

The slaughterhouse has been closed and a probe launched.

READ ALSO: France hunts for 800kg of suspect beef from sick cows

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French wine country unveils its answer to kobe beef

As the unofficial capital of France's Burgundy region, Beaune is a town that thrives on wine -- and now even its cows are going to taste like grapes.

French wine country unveils its answer to kobe beef
Photo: AFP
This weekend will see luminaries of the wine-making world descend on the ancient eastern town for its huge annual Hospices de Beaune charity auction.
The 157-year-old sale, run by Christie's, sees millions of dollars exchange hands and is considered a barometer for global demand for Burgundy, considered one of France's most prestigious wine areas.
But this year, local officials are hoping foreign buyers have time to try Beaune's new offering: beef reared on the byproducts of the wine-making process.
The cows are fed in their last months with the mulchy residue left after the world-famous local vintages are fermented and distilled, as well as on crushed blackcurrants.
Photo: AFP   
Local farmers hope the quality of the meat could earn them a reputation similar to that of Japan's illustrious kobe beef, renowned for its flavour and tenderness.
“The wine from the Hospices auction is a fruity wine,” said Beaune chef Laurent Parra as he flipped a slice on a grill at a tasting.
“That's what we're looking for in the meat — that it's tasty, with blackcurrant and grape flavours. You can just about smell this hint of a flavour.”
A dozen local chefs who came to try the well-marbled meat — most of them the owners of Michelin stars — were already dreaming about what they could do with it.
A beef stew braised ever-so-gently and served with old-style vegetables; tartare with blackcurrant oil and shallots cooked in white wine; roast cote de boeuf with caramelised mushrooms…
Parra said the meat was “very tender” but is hoping for a fattier, even more flavourful version. “It's the fat which gives the meat its flavour,” he said.
Photo: AFP
'Like a fine wine'
So far only two cows have been reared on the method — but weighing in at 700 to 800 kilogrammes each (1,500 to 1,800 pounds), their meat will go a considerable way.
Dominique Guyon, who bred them, says they were reared “peacefully, naturally”.
Fed first by their mothers, they were then switched onto grass and hay before being fed a cereal mix, 20 percent of which is made up of the grape and blackcurrant mulch.
“The ultimate goal is to produce something that tastes like the land, like a fine wine,” says Guyon's son Antoine, who runs the farm with his father at Rouvres-sous-Meilly.
Local winemaker Frederic Mazeau said feeding the wine residue to the cows also made economic sense.
“The grape residue is sometimes used to make compost but we don't really know what to do with it,” he said. “The idea is to recycle it all by giving it to the cows.”
By AFP's Olivier DEVOS