Danish supermarket chain cuts ties with supplier after discovery of decade-old meat

The Salling Group, which owns several supermarket chains, confirmed it will no longer work with supplier Skare Meat Packers after inspectors found years-old meat at the company’s warehouse.

Danish supermarket chain cuts ties with supplier after discovery of decade-old meat
Illustration file photo showing cuts of pork. Supermarket chain Salling will no longer use a supplier after inspectors found dated and poorly documented stocks. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) inspectors found 250 tonnes of old meat — some from as early as 2010 — at Skare Meat Packers, which was a supplier to three of Denmark’s biggest grocery chains.

The fact the company couldn’t say where the meat is from set off alarm bells for authorities. 

Skare Meat Packers is a supplier of meat to the Salling Group, which includes Bilka, Føtex, and Netto.

The Salling Group announced on Wednesday that it had cut all ties with Skare. 

“Our customers must feel confident that suppliers have full transparency at all times and that they comply with relevant laws,” Salling Group’s director of communications Henrik Vinther Olesen told media Finans.

Danish food authorities say meat can be sold as long as the company assesses it for safety (for instance, via smell or taste) regardless of its age — even if it’s 50 years old, a statement from the agency said.

But Skare was reported to police by the Veterinary and Food Administration because the company was unable to document where much of the decade-old meat originated, and because there was evidence that labelling had been changed to display the wrong country of origin. 

The company was also reported to police for allegedly attempting to prevent inspectors from undertaking checks.

Skare Meat Packers director Kurt Skare told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the company had not acted in breach of the law.

He also said that the ‘old’ meat is sold in processed products like sausage, and that it’s normal for companies to have meat in storage that dates from before 2017.

While it’s technically not illegal to sell meat this old, neither is it normal, according to the business organization the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. 

“Quality and food safety decrease the longer meat is stored,” president Jens Munk Ebbesen told news outlet Agriwatch.

“That’s why it’s not normal to store meat for more than two years if you care about the health, quality and safety of your food,” he said.

READ MORE: Danish meat giant releases range of plant based products 

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Denmark wins prestigious culinary award in global showdown

Denmark's ode to the humble squash helped propel the Nordic nation to victory Monday in prestigious culinary competition the Bocuse d'or, beating host and defending champion France.

Denmark wins prestigious culinary award in global showdown

With foghorns and firecrackers, a passionate Danish crowd cheered on chef Brian Mark Hansen, 41, as he steered Denmark to its third victory in the gastronomy equivalent of the World Cup.

“These Danes are crazy, hey? That’s the Vikings,” said Hansen, a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen. “I have dreamed of this for 20 years.”

After national selections in some 60 countries, the two-day final in Lyon pitted 24 chefs against each other in the competition set up by French “Nouvelle Cuisine” pioneer Paul Bocuse in 1983.

Norway came second and Hungary third.

Long known for their hearty meat-and-potatoes fare, Danish chefs have taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, racking up Michelin stars and global awards.

Scandinavian contestants have finished at least in the top three every time in the biennial event going back to 1991.

France has seven titles, but this year chef Nais Pirollet, 25, the only woman in the competition, finished fifth.

“There is no sadness, it is a victory to be here,” she said.

Training for the competition is intense, “a bit like a fighter pilot or Formula 1 driver,” said last year’s winner Davy Tissot, president of the 2023 jury.

Finland’s 25-year-old candidate Johan Kurkela has been known to train for 10 hours straight locked in a basement. Meanwhile, Pirollet trained daily for five-and-a-half hours nonstop to replicate competition conditions.

Denmark got the most jury votes in both categories.

The first, “Feed the kids,” aimed to highlight the importance of nutrition in children’s diets, using the squash.

From butternut to spaghetti squash, seeds and all, the chefs had to use their imagination to highlight the humble dish — a fruit often mistaken for a vegetable — resulting in an explosion of orange creations.

Simplicity “is the hardest thing to do,” said Tissot.

“I want to taste the squash. I also wanted to be transported into a universe which I might not know,” said three-star chef Dominique Crenn, honorary president of the grand final.

For the main dish, the chefs had to mesmerise with monkfish, pulling out all the stops when it came to presentation.

Mauritian chef Kritesh Halkory — one of only two candidates from Africa — used a massive sea urchin shell as a gravy boat.