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19-year-old rotten meat sold in Swedish shops

Canned meat from 1993 has been relabelled and resold in Swedish shops despite being rotten and severely lacking in nutritional value, according to a report in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Wednesday.

19-year-old rotten meat sold in Swedish shops

“Eating this meat, consumers would risk being poisoned,” was the verdict from Polish scientists after testing one batch of the meat which made it to Poland a few years ago.

Svenska Dagbladet revealed in 2009 that canned meat from the early 90s was being relabelled and sold to restaurants in Poland.

The meat, which had been part of Sweden’s emergency stock, had been produced by a Swedish meat company called Scan Syd from Kristianstad in southern Sweden in 1993.

In 2000, the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) tried to sell off the stock but it proved difficult and the cans ended up in a warehouse for another nine years before a buyer could be found.

However, in 2009 a wholesaler purchased almost 1,000 tonnes of canned corned beef and 500 tonnes of minced meat mix from the agency.

After SvD’s report about the meat in Poland, a consumer reported a can of meat bought in Sweden, and officers from the environmental administration (Miljöförvaltningen) carried out a surprise inspection of the Stockholm supplier, M&T Company.

“We found large numbers of cans that were being relabelled on the premises,” said one of the agency officers, Camilla Blom, to SvD.

The sell-by-date had been changed to 2013 on all the cans.

According to what meat company Scan Syd told the paper, the product should have been consumed within ten years of being canned.

When the meat was tested in Poland in 2009, scientists said it was rotting and that eating it would mean a risk of falling ill in food-poisoning.

“Also, the nutritional value is so low that anyone eating large amounts of it would risk malnutrition,” wrote Maria Walczyka of the Warsaw Agricultural University, responsible for the testing, according to SvD.

Following the visit by the agency officers, M&T Company promised to recall the unsold cans of meat from 23 shops that they had supplied of which twenty were in Stockholm and three in Gothenburg.

“The company has had microbiological tests done on the cans which show that the meat is still fit for human consumption. Despite this they have chosen to immediately follow the agency’s orders by stopping the sales and recalling all that has already gone out,” said M&T Company’s lawyer Ilhan Aydin to SvD.

The agency initially reported the company, but in February 2012 the preliminary investigation was dropped as the prosecutor deemed it impossible to prove that the company had meant to deceive anyone.

However, the environmental administration intends to appeal.

“If we can’t get someone who sells 19-year-old food charged before a court of law, then we can’t get legal action against anyone,” said Helena Storbjörk Windahl of the agency to SvD.

The Local/rm

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DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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