Criticism and recalls in salmonella meat scandal
Food minister calls the failure to recall tainted meat "unacceptable", while the nation's largest retailer ends its partnership with meat producer.
Published: 1 October 2014 09:23 CEST
Food and Agriculture Minister Dan Jørgensen. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Scanpix
This week’s revelations that the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) did not order a recall on salmonella-infected ground beef has now led to delayed recalls and further criticism of the food authorities.
The nation’s largest retailer, Dansk Supermarked, which operates the supermarket chains Netto, Bilka and Føtex, has decided to immediately stop its partnershipp with meat producer Skare Meat Packers and has recalled Skare-produced meat packaged between June 13th and June 20th. Although those dates have long passed, the retailer is issuing the recall anyway, in case consumers have the tainted meat in their freezers.
“Despite the producer of the ground beef, Skare Meat Packers, and Fødevarestrylsen knowing for over two months that Dansk Supermarked, along with other chains, had sold salmonella-infected mean back in June, neither Skare Meat Packers nor the food authorities informed Dansk Supermarked,” the retailer wrote in a press release.
The supermarket chain Lidl followed suit on Tuesday and also issued a recall of meat from Skare.
The food and agriculture minister, Dan Jørgensen, criticised Fødevarestrylsen’s handling of the case.
“Consideration for consumers should always weigh heavy in the handling of these types of cases – particularly here, where there could still be meat from Skare in consumers’ freezers that should have been recalled long ago,” Jørgensen wrote in a press release.
“With that in mind, I have now informed Fødevarestrylsen that consumers should always be informed if there is the slightest risk to consumers’ safety,” he added.
Metroxpress newspaper revealed on Monday that ground beef infected with multi resistant salmonella was sold by Skare Meat Packers in June.
Skare delivered the beef to stores on June 13th but did not recall it as required by law when an analysis the following day found the presence of salmonella.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) first traced the infection to Skare a full 40 days after the meat was sent to stores, but the food authorities did not require a recall, nor did it tell consumers where the meat was sold.
“This is confidential information, the release of which would cause considerable economic harm to the company,” Fødevarestrylsen wrote, according to Metroxpress.
According to the Danish State Serum Institute (SSI), 19 people, including a three-year-old boy, reported being ill just days after consuming the Skare meat. Beyond the 19 registered cases, SSI estimates that up to 130 people may have been sickened by the tainted meat.
Fødevarestrylsen has also faced criticism for its handling of a listeria outbreak that is responsible for 16 deaths.
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