Feb.13 - European countries are expected to step up testing of food products, in response to a Europe-wide scandal of horsemeat being sold as beef. The affair has shown consumers the long journey processed food makes to their plates, and some are changing their shopping habits and turning to butchers rather than big retailers. Joanna Partridge reports
A return to the traditional butcher. The growing Europe-wide scandal of horsemeat sold as beef has made some consumers change their shopping habits, says Danny Lidgate. SOUNDBITE: Danny Lidgate, Manager of Lidgate Butcher, saying (English): "We've found some growth in products like minced beef, pies and sausages, and people now trust their local butchers much more." Frozen burgers and lasagnes have been removed from supermarket shelves, customers want to know where their food comes from. SOUNDBITE: Ken Bakasa, Customer, saying (English): "I don't buy any more processed foods or pies or anything like that, unless I can see what the meat really looks like." SOUNDBITE: Patricia Feltham, Customer, saying (English): "I nearly always buy fresh meat." Work has been temporarily stopped at this slaughterhouse in northern England and a meat processing plant in Wales after a raid by police and food regulators. Horsemeat had already been found in frozen food sold as beef in Britain and France. That meat was traced back to Romania. It's not illegal to sell horsemeat in Britain, but it's rarely eaten there. The scandal has exposed flaws in food safety controls. And it's brought home to consumers the long and complex journey processed food makes between the slaughterhouse and our plates. European Union officials are meeting in Brussels to discuss the horsemeat affair - and are expected to introduce tougher food testing. Tonio Borg is EU Health Commissioner. SOUNDBITE: Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health, saying (English): "All those countries through which this meat product has passed, of course they are under suspicion. By the countries I mean the companies in those countries which dealt with these meat products. It would be very unfair to point a finger at any particular country. Let the investigation proceed and then all the necessary actions will be taken." Regulators suspect rogue suppliers tried to pass off cheaper horsemeat as beef in order to increase their profits. French prosecutors are looking into whether fraud was committed. In a separate incident, upmarket British food retailer Waitrose withdrew packs of frozen beef meatballs, after tests showed they might contain pork. More cases of horsemeat are expected to appear in Britain on Friday, when results of tests on processed beef products are due. Alongside the increased trade for butchers, food testing companies are also benefitting,as more retailers send in samples of meat products.