TIMELINE: The horsemeat scandal

AFP , Monday 18 Feb 2013

Below are the main developments in the frozen food scandal that erupted in Europe one month ago

The Horsemeat Scandal
A potential buyer looks in a horse's mouth at Skaryszew horse fair February 18, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

- Mid-January 2013: Equine DNA is found in beefburgers in Britain and Ireland, countries where horsemeat consumption is generally taboo. Millions of beefburgers are removed from sale.

- February 7: Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) announces that tests confirm that lasagne produced by processed food giant Findus contains up to 100 percent horsemeat.

- February 8: The French food company that supplied the lasagne, Comigel, says it has withdrawn all products from a meat supplier that had provided it with horsemeat instead of beef, French company Spanghero, which says that the meat comes from Romania.

- Swedish food firms withdraw frozen lasagne meals from stores.

- Findus UK says that it withdrew the tainted products in Britain on February 4.

- February 9: Spanghero says it will sue the Romanian producer.

- A French probe reveals the meat has been traced from France through Cyprus and the Netherlands to Romanian abattoirs.

- Romania opens an enquiry.

- February 10: After Findus, which has launched a complaint, Comigel says it will seek compensation.

- February 11: Romania denies any irregularity.

- February 12: Supermarkets in France, Switzerland and The Netherlands pull ready-made meals from the shelves out of precaution.

France becomes the second European country to confirm the presence of horsemeat in frozen meals.

- February 13: Horsemeat is found in frozen lasagne in Switzerland and Germany.

- The EU calls in Europe's law enforcement agency Europol and urges bloc-wide DNA food testing. It also urges checks for an equine veterinary drug that can be dangerous to humans -- phenylbutazone -- in all European establishments handling raw horsemeat.

- February 14: Following a probe, France blames Spanghero, which allegedly knowingly sold 750 tonnes of horsemeat over a period of six months.

- Police in Britain arrest three men at meat plants suspected of passing horse off mislabelled as beef.

- Britain announces that phenylbutazone has been found in six horse carcasses.

- February 15: Norway and Austria find horsemeat in frozen dishes.

- A probe is opened in Denmark into horsemeat in pizzas.

- The EU agrees the immediate launch of tests for horse DNA in meat products.

- Britain says 29 beef products out of 2,501 have been found to contain more than one percent horsemeat.

- February 16: Bulgaria becomes the latest country to order lasagne dishes pulled from the shelves.

- German discount chain Lidl pulls its canned beef goulash and tortellini bolognese "as a precaution" from its Finnish and Swedish stores.

- February 18: Spanghero is allowed to resume production of minced meat, sausages and ready-to-eat meals, but will no longer be allowed to stock frozen meat, after a meeting between the government and the company's unions.

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