Horsemeat scandal spreads to Norway

2013-02-15 16:22:57 GMT2013-02-16 00:22:57(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

OSLO, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Horse meat has now been found in some food items collected from a number of Norwegian supermarket chains including Coop, Norwegian media reported on Friday.

Coop said that horsemeat had been discovered in frozen lasagne, which were withdrawn from shelf last week when the scandal broke out in other European countries.

Consumers can return the lasagne and get a refund, said the grocery chain.

While Rema 1000 is still waiting for a test result, NorgesGruppen, Norway's largest grocery wholesaler and retailer, announced on Friday that horsemeat has been found in frozen lasagne imported to Norway under the "First Price" brand.

Results returned on Friday morning confirmed that 60 percent of the meat in the First Price lasagne came from horses, which could be unsafe for human consumption for drugs used on horses.

NorgesGruppen owns the Kiwi, Spar, Meny and Joker grocery chains in Norway.

The lasagne was pulled off the market on Feb. 8, a NorgesGruppen executive said.

Solfrid Flateby, spokesperson for the Reitan Group which owns Rema 1000, said that the company went a step further by taking additional samples to ensure the content declaration is correct, not only checking if they contain horsemeat instead of beef.

Rema 1000 has also stopped the products under suspicion.

Samples of 25 food items including pizza, liver, sausage and meatballs were sent by Rema 1000 to test for horsemeat.

Norwegian ministers in charge of health, food and agriculture called food inspectors and industry players for an emergency meeting.

Many Norwegians were more than surprised when they came to know that Norway conducts little testing of ready-made food products imported to Norway, especially when it comes from European nations.

Few wholesalers and retailers in Norway are required to send the imported food for test on the assumption that European regulators have already done so, according to Norwegian media reports.

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