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Ton of horsemeat burgers seized in Spain: authorities

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Spanish authorities Thursday seized a ton of hamburgers in the Canary Islands that contained horsemeat despite not being labelled with it, an official said.

The meat -- about 7,000 hamburgers in total weighing just over one ton -- was destined for eateries in the Canaries, a major destination for foreign tourists.

"They are now off the market and will not be eaten by anyone," the regional government's trade and consumer affairs director Gustavo Matos told a news conference.

He said the Canaries authorities seized the burgers after a warning from a Spanish government watchdog which certified that they came from a known distributor of products containing horsemeat.

The watchdog detected that they had been distributed by a company based in the Spanish city of Valencia, which in turn got them from an unnamed Irish company.

The burgers were headed for hotels and restaurants but not for sale in shops. The proportion of horsemeat in the burgers had yet to be determined, Matos said.

A vast food scandal has erupted in Europe after horsemeat was found in so-called beef ready-made meals and burgers in Britain and Ireland.

The scandal has spread to Hong Kong where an imported brand of lasagne was pulled from shelves, officials said Wednesday.

Among various companies implicated in the scandal, Swiss food giant Nestle withdrew two types of pasta meal from supermarkets this week in Spain and Italy after detecting horsemeat in them.

The Canaries case was the first major seizure announced by the Spanish authorities however.

The health ministry said in a statement that authorities would carry out a series of tests for horsemeat next month.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130221/ton-horsemeat-burgers-seized-spain-authorities