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France reinstates licence for firm in horsemeat scandal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-18

France has partially reinstated the operating licence for Spanghero, the French meat-processing firm accused of knowingly labelling horsemeat as beef, after its licence to process meat was suspended last week.

France on Monday partially renewed the licence of the meat-processing firm Spanghero that was suspended when it was accused of passing off Romanian horsemeat as beef.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll told AFP that the firm would again be allowed to produce minced meat, sausages and ready-to-eat meals, but would no longer be allowed to stock frozen meats.

Spaghero’s licence to process meat was suspended last Thursday as the French authorities accused the company of buying some 750 tonnes of horsemeat over an estimated six-month period from Romanian abattoirs through Dutch and Cypriot intermediaries.

Spanghero is accused of deliberately re-labelling the product “Beef, origin EU” and making profits of hundreds of thousands of euros as they benefited from the cheaper price of horsemeat.

As the investigation continues, the company faces an uncertain future and its employees risk the agony of being made redundant from a company that was, until recently, a booming business.

The meat processing firm was founded in 1970 by Claude Spanghero, who played in the French national rugby side 22 times, and his brother Laurent, a leading member of the rugby team, Narbonne XV.

In 2009, the brothers sold their majority holding to the French food distribution giant Lur Berri, a principal condition of the sale being that the company should retain the name "Spanghero", to keep the pride of a regional and French sporting family name alive.

In 2011, following a period of restructuring and food safety improvements, the company was awarded the prestigious International Food Standard certificate.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-02-18

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