Lasagna products sold in France contained horsemeat that may have originated from Romania and any of the country’s 35 slaughterhouses officially registered to process horses.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: RO1305
Authorities Begin Investigation into if Romanian Horse Meat
Agriculture in the News
Michael Henney, Agricultural Attaché
Ioana Stoenescu, Agricultural Marketing Specialist
Lasagna products sold in France contained horsemeat that may have originated from Romania and any
of the country’s 35 slaughterhouses officially registered to process horses. Trade data show only two of
the Romanian slaughterhouses engaged in trade of horse meat to other member states in the recent
period. An investigation is underway to determine if all facilities properly documented and labeled
products moved into commercial channels.
On February 8th, the European Commission notified through the Rapid Alert System all member states
on the recent non-conformity issue revealed at lasagna product containing horse meat instead of beef.
Presently, there are 35 slaughterhouses in Romania which are authorized by the National Sanitary
Veterinary and Food Safety Authority to slaughter horses, and they are registered in Prahova, Botoşani,
Argeş, and Călăraşi counties. Despite the fact that all 35 hold this authorization, horse slaughtering is
an occasional request.
According to Romanian Ministry of Agriculture, there are two Romanian slaughterhouses which
delivered horse meat to other member states in the recent period. The same authority confirms that one
of them is excluded because they exported to the EU market only horse meat, and there could not have
been any possibility to wrongly label it as beef meat.
According to local media, meat exports from Romania reached France through more trading companies.
A Dutch trader purchased and delivered the Romanian meat to a Cyprus trader, which sold it to the
French company Maison Spanghero. The French buyer confirmed buying the Romanian beef meat and
reselling it to Comigel company in their Luxemburg branch, processed it and produced the lasagna
products sold in the international food chain Findus.
Following the horse meat detection on Feb. 8th, the packages were withdrawn from French and Swedish
Horse meat is traded within the EU without passing border control. The shipment must have a
veterinary mark provided by the state-official veterinarian, who is the official state inspector of the
slaughterhouse. In addition, the shipment must be accompanied by a series of commercial and
Romanian Meat Associations representatives declare that all meat exported from Romania was properly
labeled and differences between the two types of meat are visible for processors.
Trade data indicate that Romania exported around 5,000 tons of horse meat valued at USD 14 millions
to the EU countries during the first ten months of 2012. According to EUROSTAT data, the main
export destinations for the Romanian horse meat were Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, and the
Romania Export Statistics
Commodity: 0205, Meat Of Horses, Asses, Mules Or Hinnies, Fresh, Chilled Or Frozen
Year To Date: January – October
2010 2011 2012
Partner Country Unit
USD Quantity USD Quantity USD Quantity
World T 10918300 3999 14038295 4715 14179848 4993
Belgium T 5695091 1478 5400001 1079 5096387 1083
Bulgaria T 249202 170 3090506 1524 3840948 1812
Italy T 4564236 2138 3762315 1498 2304544 938
Poland T 0 0 88093 18 1759709 746
Netherlands T 211760 107 1273646 440 910362 316
Germany T 0 0 55150 21 159088 59
Greece T 68 0 13933 4 49432 16
Hungary T 34006 25 55323 26 38700 17
Austria T 0 0 0 0 20678 6
Ireland T 92636 42 0 0 0 0
Czech Republic T 65556 30 127969 44 0 0
France T 5745 9 171360 62 0 0
Source of Data: Eurostat
Referring to the numerical evolution of horses, the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture declares that
horse livestock slightly decreased in 2012 compared with the previous year. The same source specifies
that during the first nine month of 2012 Romania had less than 600,000 horses registered.
The Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and the National Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Authority
are working to establish if the raw horse meat was exported by a Romanian trader and if the company
fulfilled all the legal requirements when performing the export.