Swiss Coop pulls frozen lasagna from stores

Swiss supermarket giant Coop said Tuesday it had withdrawn all frozen lasagnes produced by Comigel, the French firm at the heart of a horsemeat food scandal spreading across Europe.

The chain said in an email to AFP that it was withdrawing all lasagnes prepared by Comigel as a "precaution", after it emerged that its products labelled as beef contained horsemeat.

"We thus aim to reduce the risk that our clients purchase products that are wrongly labelled," said the chain, which has stores only in Switzerland.

British supermarkets were the first to pull the products last week after Comigel warned that the products it supplied to the Findus frozen food giant -- which sold its ready-to-eat meals to supermarkets -- was suspect.

Comigel said it got its meat from another French firm, Spanghero, which said it was supplied from two abattoirs in Romania who allegedly passed horsemeat off as beef.

Coop told AFP it had not yet detected horsemeat in the withdrawn frozen lasagnas, but that it had "ordered analyses of the products" to determine "if and to what extent the Comigel deliveries contain faulty declarations."

It said that only lasagnas produced by Comigel -- which sells its products to customers in 16 countries -- would be withdrawn.

Frozen meals by Findus would remain on the shelves, it said.

Findus Switzerland, which unlike the rest of the brand still belongs to Nestle, only uses Swiss beef in its lasagnas, Nestle said at the weekend.

Nestle owned all of Findus until 2000 when it sold the rights to most of the brand to a Swedish private equity firm. The Findus brand, excluding in Switzerland and Italy, is today owned by British private equity firm Lion Capital.