Authorities suspect rancid meat discovered at a Bavarian factory may have been sold across Germany and in other European countries, investigators said Friday. Some 50 tons of meat have been confiscated.
After 10 tons of rotten meat were confiscated from a Munich company's meat locker Thursday, police found between 30 and 40 tons of suspicious duck meat at another Bavarian business.
"The entire magnitude cannot be assessed yet," said a municipal spokesman, adding that the meat taken Thursday -- some of which was as much as four years past its expiration date -- was "rancid, moldy and old."
The factory where the meat was found supplied customers across Germany and Europe, leading authorities to notify health officials in the European Union as well as countries where the meat may have been sold, the spokesman said without naming the countries.
Testing to continue into next week
Tests on the duck meat confiscated Friday were continuing and officials are investigating kebab stands, Asian food stores and Bavarian restaurants to determine if any of the meat reached the market, according to a police spokesperson.
The owner of the meat factory and all 16 employees, who police did not name, were questioned. No arrests have been made as prosecutors consider the charges to be filed.
Officials hope to finish testing the rest of the meat by early next week, Horst Reif of Munich's health department told the online edition of German newsmagazine Der Spiegel on Friday.
Consumer groups call for stricter laws
The German Ministry for Consumer Protection did not comment directly on the case, saying it's too early to come to any conclusions.
But the time span was long enough for other consumer protection representatives to call for tougher laws and tests.
"There has to be a law for more transparency," Foodwatch's Thilo Bode said in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF on Friday. "The names of rotten meat distributors have to be published and penalties need to be tougher or else nothing will change."
Bärbel Höhn, chair of the German parliament's committee for consumer protection, told Deutschlandfunk radio that tougher laws need to be put in place to ensure such cases are noticed by food control boards and that officials aren't just alerted by an anonymous tip, as was the case in Munich.
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