The Swedish state phased out its stockpiles of tinned meat at the end of the 1990s.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture then sold 1.5 million kilograms of the meat, which dates back up to 27 years, to a Swedish trading company.
The meat was offloaded on the condition that it could only be sold as food outside of the European Union. Within the EU it could be classified only as animal feed.
The meat was since sold to Poland and has found its way onto the tables of unsuspecting diners in Polish restaurants.
The tinned meat’s recommended durability was fixed at ten years.
Laboratory tests carried out on behalf of SvD and the Polish television programme Uwaga have found that the cans do not contain bacteria, and thereby meet EU regulations.
But further analysis at the agricultural college in Warsaw has shown that the tinned meats and minced meat mix are in varying states of rancid decay.
“When we opened the cans the freeze-dried meat smelt like fish. The fat in the cans had become rancid,” Maria Walczyka, responsible for the testing, told SvD.
“By eating this meat you run the risk of being poisoned,” she warned.
According to the agriculture board’s conditions of sale, had the meat not been re-sold as food for humans or animal feed by March 2002 then it should have beeen destroyed.
But according to the newspaper these conditions were later changed and there remain stocks of the Cold War-era meat in storage in Gothenburg harbour waiting for export.