Press release

Owen Paterson statement following EU Council meeting on horsemeat – 25 February

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Statement following the EU Agriculture Council where the European-wide horsemeat fraud was discussed.

Following the EU Agriculture Council where the European-wide horsemeat fraud was discussed, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:

“Earlier today I had a meeting with Commissioner Borg to discuss a comprehensive response to the European wide fraud involving horsemeat.

“This was followed by the Agriculture Council meeting which was the first time that all European ministers have been able to gather round the table to discuss this cross border criminal problem. We need coordinated action by every member state across Europe to rebuild consumer confidence in the products provided by food businesses, and to ensure perpetrators are prosecuted.

“As we have seen from recent announcements by Ikea and Nestle, this is an issue right across the European supply network. Following my visit to The Hague ten days ago I have had a further update from Europol. As a result of this I have encouraged all European countries to share any intelligence to help coordinate criminal investigations across member states.

“The Commission has responded to our call for random testing of food products. This will initially take place for one month. I have also asked the Commission for more risk based testing of food during production and random testing for finished products.

“Finally, the Commission has agreed to my call to speed up the publication of their paper into options for country of origin labelling for processed meat used in food. This will help all member states form their own position on what any regulations would look like.”