Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

France

Farmers unfazed by horsemeat scandal at agricultural fair

© Rachel Holman

Text by Rachel HOLMAN

Latest update : 2013-02-26

The 50th edition of France’s annual International Agricultural Fair opened in the capital Paris on Saturday amid a horsemeat scandal that has rattled the European food industry.

France’s 50th annual International Agricultural Fair, a vibrant and bustling showcase of the country’s agricultural sector, opened in Paris on Saturday amid a Europe-wide horsemeat scandal that has shaken the food industry.

Held in a sprawling exposition centre on the southwestern fringes of the capital, the fair was staged in several different buildings, each divided by theme. In a pavilion dedicated to cattle, bulking steers, brown cows, Holsteins and calves – the unsuspecting victims of a food-labelling controversy – stood idly tethered to platforms covered thick with hay.

In the weeks leading up to the International Agricultural Fair, much of Europe was shocked after it emerged that horsemeat had been sold as “beef” in pre-made frozen meals in numerous countries. France soon found itself at the heart of the scandal when it was discovered that French company Spanghero had allegedly bought around 750 tonnes of horsemeat over an estimated six-month period from foreign slaughterhouses to be deliberately re-labelled and distributed as EU-origin beef.

Despite widespread outrage, the mood at the fair seemed largely unaffected by the issue. Event attendees milled through the aisles, perusing stands and gawking at the displays of cattle.

“It’s not a health crisis where people are completely turned off by meat,” Yves Berger, general director of France’s national interprofessional livestock and meat association (Interbev) told FRANCE 24. “It’s quite the contrary. People are now going to retailers, to butchers and making their own lasagnas. We’ve noticed a greater interest in meat sections even in supermarkets.”

‘It’s all about traceability’

Regarding frozen foods, Berger added that Interbev had already sat down with ministers responsible for the country’s food safety and agriculture departments to discuss introducing more stringent rules on labeling meat in pre-prepared meals.

“We have to limit the risks. That doesn’t mean that fraud will no longer exist, but we have to limit it by all means possible. And in order to do so, we’ve proposed imposing the same regulations that apply from fresh meat to pre-prepared meals that contain meat,” Berger said. “For example, labels that declare where the meat was raised and the country where it was slaughtered.”

Jean-Jacques Leru, a livestock farmer from Côtes d’Armor in France’s western Brittany region, agreed that in the end the issue came down to one major theme.

“It’s traceability again. It’s all about traceability,” Leru told FRANCE 24. “We buy meat from Romania despite the fact that there is some in France... It’s not Romania’s fault, but if the rules of the game were clearer, if the packaging was labelled with where the meat came from, there wouldn’t be a problem anymore.”

French President François Hollande, who also made an appearance at the opening of the International Agricultural Fair, echoed Berger and Leru, calling for a Europe-wide labeling system ahead of talks with European farm ministers next week.

“There needs to be traceability, that is what I want from talks on a European level,” Hollande said. “We need compulsory labeling on meats that will be used in processed food.”

The event, which attracted more than 680,000 people last year, runs from February 23 until March 3.

Date created : 2013-02-23

  • FRANCE

    French firm halts wholesale meat trade amid horsemeat scandal

    Read more

  • SWITZERLAND

    Nestlé pulls beef meals after finding horsemeat traces

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France reinstates licence for firm in horsemeat scandal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)