Another Horsemeat Scandal Hits France
Good doesn’t always win over evil in this world, but evil can ultimately destroy itself. The concept of vaccines is simply a dead virus being used to help the body recognize the threat and stimulate defenses against the living virus. So it’s poetic justice that horses used to develop vaccines might well be the stimulus that turns the horse eating French against the idea of eating horsemeat. Read the news about the latest scandal, then read the next article from a blog about the reaction on the streets of France. – Jerry – PS: If all goes as planned in the next couple of days, there will be some very exciting breaking news. Stand by
French police conducted searches across the nation’s south as part of an investigation into trafficking of horsemeat unfit for human consumption that was entering the food chain, theAgriculture Ministry said.
The case involves fraudulent identity papers for horses, Brice Robin, the public prosecutor in Marseilles, said at a press conference today. Twenty-one people were arrested in France as well as Spain for reselling horse meat from animals used in the pharmaceutical industry, broadcaster France 3 reported, citing law-enforcement officers.
Sanofi (SAN), France’s largest drugmaker, said its vaccines unit is a victim of the fraud, and is assisting authorities in the investigation. The company uses live horses when producing serums such as anti-tetanus shots. Horse meat is eaten in parts of France, Belgium, Luxembourg andItaly, according to the website of Humane Society International.
“There are horses that should not end up in your plate nor at the butcher, and that is the topic of this investigation,” Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said in an interview with broadcaster RTL.
The horses used to produce serums on average stay at the drugmaker’s premises for three years, after which they’re sold “in good health” to equestrian centers, veterinary schools and professionals, Sanofi Pasteur, the drugmaker’s vaccines unit, said in an e-mailed statement.
“Though they represent no danger, Sanofi Pasteur always informs buyers that these horses must not be used in the food industry,” the company wrote. “Sanofi Pasteur will exercise its right to pursue in court any buyer who did not abide by this obligation, of which they were informed at the time of purchase.”
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / December 16, 2013, Christian Science Monitor
After arriving in France in April, I know I thought twice about buying any frozen food containing meat. The country was still reeling from a horse-meat mega scandal, after tons of it had been marketed as beef and sold in ready-made frozen meals that showed up across Europe.
Now horse meat is in the news again, but this time it’s far more worrisome. The investigation is unfolding, but in short, meat from horses used for medical research has ended up in the food chain, French officials said Monday.
The scandal involves the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, whose spokesman says the horses used to incubate antibodies were sold and labeled as not fit for human consumption. But along the way papers were allegedly falsified, and instead of the horses being killed and disposed of, they were sold to butcher houses between 2010 and 2012. The company has said it was unaware of the fraud and is cooperating with investigators.
“It could involve hundreds of horses if this has been going on for several years. In the last three years, we must have discharged about 200 horses,” spokesman Alain Bernal told Reuters.
The news emerged after raids in 11 regions of southern France – and at least one site in Spain, according to Agence France-Presse. Twenty-one people have been arrested, including traders, veterinarians, and butchers, according to local reports.
When I talk to Parisians about food, I find they are like residents of other urban centers across the globe who are increasingly worried about the globalization of food and its sources. “Eat local” is just as big a movement here as anywhere else. I have a friend who just got a job in Paris for a farmer in the south of France who is trying to sell products directly to the consumer and bypass the intermediary – who might not, like in this horse-meat case, be committing fraud, but is inflating prices nonetheless. I hear more about this type of effort all the time.
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