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No Swedish crime probe of horsemeat scandal

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No Swedish crime probe of horsemeat scandal
10:02 CEST+02:00
Despite the furor following revelations of horsemeat in ready-made meals in Sweden, Swedish food producers have abandoned their pursuit to bring their subcontractors to justice.

The Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported on Monday that two of three Sweden-based ready-meal producers that announced they would report the suspected fraud to the police have not done so. A third producer that did file a report has seen the investigation closed.

Neither has Sweden's Food Agency (Livsmedelverket) put words into action, and will not report Swedish food makers Findus to the police as previously advertized, partly because fraud can only be proven if the person or company that committed it can be proven to have done so with intent.

"There's been a lot of to and fros about this," agency spokeswoman Mona-Lisa Dahlbom-Wiedel told SvD.

In February, Swedish supermarket chains Ica, Coop, and Axfood all confirmed that their frozen lasagne products contain horsemeat, with the retailers' produce all coming from the same subcontractor chain that Swedish foodmakers Findus had employed.

The meat delivery firm Comigel was at the heart of the food scandal that shocked consumers across Europe, and shone the spotlight on complicated delivery structures that made holding companies accountable for the tainted food complicated.

Erich Lehagre, the director of Comigel, told the AFP news agency at the time that the horsemeat came from a Rumanian slaughterhouse. It was delivered to Comigel via the French meat handling company Spanghero.

Comigel delivers frozen meals to 16 countries, including the Scandinavian countries.

The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the Findus lasagne was probably not dangerous, but ordered tests to determine whether it contained the common horse painkiller phenylbutazone, often known as bute, which is banned from entering the food chain.

TT/The Local/at

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