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Swedes eat 70 tonnes of fake beef

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13:58 CET+01:00
Nearly 70 out of the 100 tonnes of pork fillets that were dyed and labelled as beef tenderloin have ended up in Swedes' stomachs.

The fake beef was imported to Sweden over a two-year-period and sold in grocery stores, regional newspaper Nya Werlmands Tidningen (NWT) reports.

It was Tomas Narving of food wholesaler Svensk Cater who first discovered the scam.

He received a complaint from a client over meat labelled as Argentinian tenderloin.

"When we examined the meat we found traces of syringes," said Narving.

The National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) confirmed that the "tenderloin filets" were in fact pork cuts from fully grown pigs that had been dyed pink to resemble beef.

The companies CKA Chark, Heat och Barterinvest which imported the fake meat to Sweden were reported to the police.

A criminal investigation is currently underway.

Out of the estimated 95.5 tons of fake beef, about 70 have already been sold. That equals 350,000 tenderloin steaks weighing 200 grams each.

The meat was imported from Hungary and then sold to wholesalers in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Lithuania, according to Narving.

It was labelled as Argentinian, Hungarian and Italian beef tenderloin.

"People should not eat meat that is mislabelled and that contains banned colouring agents," said Britt Carlsson of the Environmental Department (Miljöförvaltningen) in Karlstad in west central Sweden.

"As far as I know the Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) does not even approve of it being used as animal fodder."

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The Karlstad municipality is now considering burning the three tons of fake Hungarian beef discovered in the region.

In December several municipalities sent out staff members to grocery stores to search for fake fillets.

"As a consumer it can be hard to discover whether a piece of meat is real or not, especially if it is used as a pizza topping or in a gorgonzola sauce," said Jan Sjögren at the National Food Agency.

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