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The horsemeat scandal: a timeline

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Following are the main developments in the frozen food scandal that erupted in Europe over one month ago:

- Mid-January 2013: Horse 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- February 8: The French food company that supplied the lasagne, Comigel, says it has withdrawn all products from Spanghero, the French supplier that had delivered horsemeat instead of beef. Spanghero said 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 and later denies any irregularity.

- February 12: Supermarkets in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands pull ready-made meals from the shelves as a 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 horsemeat.

- February 16: Bulgaria orders lasagne dishes pulled from the shelves.

- February 18: France partially renews the licence of Spanghero after the first results of a probe.

- Swiss giant Nestle withdraws two types of pasta meal from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain due to contamination. German firm H.J. Schypke, which supplies Nestle, denies responsibility.

- Germany's Lidl pulls horsemeat-tainted ready-made meals from the shelves of its Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Belgian stores.

- The world's top beef processor JBS of Brazil says its Belgian branch will provisionally stop buying European meat.

- February 19: Spanghero resumes operations. It is allowed to resume production of minced meat, sausages and ready-to-eat meals, but is no longer allowed to stock frozen meat.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130219/the-horsemeat-scandal-timeline