France pledges sanctions in horsemeat scandal



Paris: French President Francois Hollande has slammed the "unacceptable behaviour" of selling horsemeat as beef and pledged to punish those who are responsible for the horsemeat scandal.

Stressing the "double duty of transparency and accountability", Hollande Monday announced that "administrative sanctions and penalties will be imposed", reported Xinhua.

"Investigations will be commissioned in a very short time and on Wednesday we will know further (about the case)," the president added.

Following its French supplier Comigel's concerns over high levels of horsemeat in some packs, frozen food group Findus unit in France recalled lasagne and two other products last week after discovering that they included up to 100-percent horsemeat rather than beef as it had thought.

In January, tests also revealed burgers sold in Ireland and Britain contained some horsemeat.

On Monday, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault headed an emergency meeting with food ministers and key figures in the meat industry to "disassemble the mechanism of traceability and see how it can be improved", according to Guillaume Garot, junior minister for food and agriculture.

Speaking to RTL radio, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll pointed to a poor traceability that added more difficulties in finding out who were behind the horsemeat scandal.

IANS