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France tracks down suspect Polish beef, some already sold

A butcher arranges pieces of beef at a meat market in Gdynia, Poland. 31 January, 2019.
A butcher arranges pieces of beef at a meat market in Gdynia, Poland. 31 January, 2019. REUTERS/Matej Leskovsek

France's agriculture ministry says it has traced the remainder of the suspect Polish beef imported into the country. France imported 795 kg of meat from a Polish slaughterhouse where allegedly sick cows were butchered.

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French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume said nine French companies had been "duped" into importing beef from the slaughterhouse in Kalinowo, a village some 100 kilometres northeast of Warsaw.

Five hundred kilos were found and destroyed earlier and 150 kilos sold to consumers.

"The remaining 145 kilos have been identified in lots prepared by wholesalers, butchers or restaurants," a ministry official told the AFP news agency.

"What is complicated is that the 145 kilos were mixed with meat of other origin," said the source. "At this stage a few dozen restaurants and butchers' shops are concerned mainly in the Paris region."

Beef sold across EU

Poland's chief veterinarian Pawel Niemczuk confirmed that 2.7 tonnes of the suspect beef had been exported to 13 European Union (EU) countries. But Polish authorities said the meat does not pose a health risk.

Authorities have traced it to buyers in Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden as well as France.

Polish prosecutors have launched a criminal probe after news channel TVN24 aired footage of the sick cows being butchered at the slaughterhouse.

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