As reported by the Associated Press on Feb. 23, 2013 France has taken a hit by Europe’s growing meat scandal. French industry officials as well as French farmers were on their way to Paris to defend their reputation of the world’s culinary base.
As farmers and officials head to Paris, for their yearly Agricultural Salon they go with an agenda in mind: how can they calm the fears of the horsemeat scandal that has become rampant throughout Europe particularly in the U.K. and Ireland with horse meat scandal that started with U.K. Burger King.
Paris is expected to have over 700,000 visitors as well as 3,000 animals at the Paris Convention Center. In attendance was France President Francois Hollande who was one of the first to arrive. He was there to lend his support to the agriculture industry after the scandal.
President Hollande spent several at the convention socializing with the people there by kissing babies, shaking hands and enjoying his French wine and cheese. His main goal was to try and restore confidence after horse meat was mislabeled in frozen dinners across Europe.
President Hollande stated that he would press for continent wide labeling on the meat used in prepared foods.
The horse meat controversy when Romanian abattoirs exported to France process ready-made meals. According to the Romanian authorities they said that the food was correctly labeled as “horse meat” and manipulation occurred somewhere down the food chain.
Since that time horse meat has turned up across Europe frozen meals in schools, hospitals and restaurants.
President Hollande said fraud was possible “because there wasn’t labeling,” he also states “consumers should be able to know the provenance of the products they consume, especially for meats”.
President Hollande says “there is a need for traceability that is what I want from talks on a European level”.
The French frozen food manufacturer Findus was the first company to acknowledge mislabeled horse meat which was shipped country to country before it found its way in prepared feeds.
Findus and grocery chains Carrefour and Intermarche stated that the will now use French beef exclusively in prepared food for customers.
Yves Berger, director general of Interbev association of livestock and meat producers, said that he hope the horse meat concerns would be something that can help benefit French Agriculture, as horse meat has been a staple of French cooking.
He says as consumers come back and start cooking for themselves it isn’t difficult make dishes such lasagna or shepherd’s pie. In face they are seeing a slight rise in sales, including horse meat.
The President Hollande also promised to support France’s dairy farmers, who have been struggling with low milk prices and high grain cost.