Horsemeat scandal fears spread to Hong Kong

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Updated 20 February 2013
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Horsemeat scandal fears spread to Hong Kong

HONG KONG: Fears over a Europe-wide food fraud scandal concerning horsemeat sold as beef have spread to Hong Kong after an imported brand of “beef” lasagne was pulled from shelves, officials said on Wednesday.
Hong Kong authorities last week ordered a top local supermarket chain to remove the lasagne made by frozen food giant Findus, one of the firms at the center of the scandal.
The product was imported from Britain and made by French firm Comigel. Western food is popular in the Asian financial center, which has a large population of expatriates.
Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety urged locals not to consume the item, which it said “might be adulterated with horsemeat which has not undergone tests for veterinary drugs.”
The product had been sold at supermarkets run by ParknShop, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the southern Chinese city and owned by tycoon Li Ka-shing.
“The product was removed from our stores last week following the government’s instructions,” a ParknShop spokeswoman told AFP Wednesday.
The chain has about 280 stores in Hong Kong and the neighboring gaming hub of Macau.
A spokeswoman at the government’s food and environmental hygiene department said authorities would monitor the food fraud scandal closely but only one contaminated product had so far been sold in Hong Kong.
Neither the supermarket nor the government could give the number of the Findus frozen beef lasagnes that were recalled in the city.
Checks by AFP found no similar action regarding suspect food had so far been taken in Indonesia, the Philippines or Malaysia.
Concerns about horsemeat first emerged in mid-January when Irish authorities found traces of horse in beefburgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco and Aldi.
The scandal intensified when Comigel alerted Findus this month to the presence of horsemeat in the meals it had made for the food giant and which were on sale in Britain.
Since then, supermarket chains have removed millions of “beef” products as tests are carried out to detect horsemeat.


20 killed in suspected militant attack in Mali: sources

Updated 15 min 47 sec ago
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20 killed in suspected militant attack in Mali: sources

  • The deaths came after more than 100 people including many civilians, particularly from the Fulani and Tuareg communities, died in recent months as a result of attacks by rival armed groups in the region
  • The French military has said the militant group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) is using the border region as a haven

BAMAKO: Around 20 people including civilians were killed in a suspected militant attack in northeastern Mali near the border with Niger, sources said.
The deaths came after more than 100 people including many civilians, particularly from the Fulani and Tuareg communities, died in recent months as a result of attacks by rival armed groups in the region.
A local official in the town of Talataye — where Saturday’s attack took place — said late Sunday that the assailants arrived in three vehicles and on a motorcycle.
Khalil Toure, a teacher, added: “They opened fire on a group of people resting under a tree, killing five people on the spot and wounding two.”
Militants have also ramped up their activities in central Mali in recent months, targeting domestic and foreign forces in violence once confined to the country’s north.
France intervened militarily in Mali in 2013 to help government forces drive Al-Qaeda-linked militants out of the north.
But large tracts of the country remain lawless despite a peace accord signed with ethnic Tuareg leaders in mid-2015 aimed at isolating the militants.
The violence has also spilled over into both Burkina Faso and Niger.
The French military has said the militant group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) is using the border region as a haven.