Last weekend, government staff from numerous EU countries were running around trying to find the meat of potentially sick animals illegally slaughtered in Poland and sold across the EU, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.
While the hunt to identify the meat and pull it from shop shelves was underway, authorities in Poland confirmed that the meat had come from illegally slaughtered potentially sick animals.
France’s ministry of agriculture said it had found and destroyed around 800 kilograms of the meat, however, around 150 kilograms had already been sold mainly through wholesale butcheries where it was typically mixed with other meat. Much of this probably ended up on restaurant plates.
According to Polish news reports 2.7 tonnes of the meat was processed at a slaughter house in Kalinowo before being exported to France, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Romania, Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Sweden.
Undercover reporters revealed how adverts were placed for sick cattle that were bought at low prices and slaughtered at night with no veterinary oversight.
This event is another reminder of how difficult it is for consumers to know where food comes from, particularly when it is mixed. Labels showing no more than the country of provenance have become little more than a prompt for a flood of questions.