The amount of rotten meat delivered to food stores and fast food joints around Germany is much larger than previously thought, German authorities confirmed Friday, 31 August 2007.
Investigators said that between 140 to 160 tons of tainted meat from Bavaria had been supplied since June, 2006 to various food companies in Berlin. Until now, authorities were talking of a meat scandal involving around 31 tons of the decayed stuff.
The meat, which was deemed "unfit" for human consumption, came from a Bavarian company and ended up at fast-food stands across eight states after being processed in Berlin. The scandal came to light after a tip-off by a lorry driver to the police.
Federal Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Horst Seehofer said in the Bavarian capital of Munich that the EU authorities had been informed, as there appeared to be a European dimension to the fraud.
The minister called for a rigorous crackdown and stiff punishments for all concerned. The scandal in Bavaria, Seehofer's political base, demonstrated the "criminal energy" being deployed to circumvent consumer protection laws, he said.
There have been calls for meat labeled "unfit" to be sprayed with dye in future to prevent it being relabeled and sold on. German politicians are demanding action at European Union level.
Not the first time
There have been repeated meat scandals in Germany over the years.
In February, tons of spoilt meat was found in a refrigerating plant in the southwestern town of Illertissen. It had come from Italy and was destined for France and Russia.
Last year, a company in the city of Passau, near Bavaria's border with Austria, was reported to have sold 140 tons of spoilt meat under false labels. In some cases, sell-by dates had been exceeded by four years.
The country was hit by another major meat scandal in 2005.