French supplier 'knew it wasn't beef': Romanian food industry

The French supplier who said it sourced lasagna meat in Romania must have known it was dealing with horsemeat, not beef, the president of Romania's food industry federation Romalimenta said Saturday.

"I am certain the importer knew it wasn't beef, because horsemeat has a specific taste, colour and texture," Sorin Minea told AFP.

There are three abattoirs in Romania that slaughter horses and export their meat to the European Union, mostly to France and Italy, he added.

"It's a legal operation that complies with standards," he said.

Minea said importers usually carry out tests to check the meat quality.

"But to determine the type of meat you have to carry out a specific test and that's only done if there's a particular suspicion."

The discovery of horsemeat in food products labelled as beef has caused outrage in Britain, where eating horsemeat is generally taboo.

French meat supplier Spanghero on Saturday said it was ready to sue the Romanian source of the horsemeat, but it did not name the firm involved.

Swedish food giant Findus withdrew various frozen meals from France and Sweden on Friday, a day after withdrawing frozen beef lasagne from sale in Britain that was found to contain up to 100 percent equine flesh.

Findus said it would file a complaint against an unidentified party, or "X", on Monday.

Romania's agriculture ministry, meanwhile, said it was investigating the food scandal.