2/19/2013 9:01 PM ET|
Horse meat found in Nestlé meals
Buitoni ravioli, tortellini and lasagna dishes in Europe all test positive for equine DNA as beef scare spreads.
Nestlé (NSRGY) is just the latest company to pull its dishes off the public's plates after its tests found horse DNA in its Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini meals sent to Italy and Spain and frozen meat sold as Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes to catering businesses in France. The company says the meat came from a German supplier and that its Lean Cuisine and Stouffer's brands weren't affected.
For a company that just found glass shards in some of its Lean Cuisine dishes in the United States, detecting horse meat in European meals is just about the only way this month could get any worse. At least Nestlé is keeping some good company when it comes to giving customers' meals some unintended equine content.
Burger King (BKW) has been under intense scrutiny after horse meat was found in some of its patties produced by an Irish supplier last month. British supermarket Tesco, meanwhile, found that one brand of hamburgers sold in its shop contained 29% horse meat.
Even Wal-Mart (WMT) has had its image tarnished by the horse meat fiasco. Its British supermarket subsidiary Asda had to pull jars of beef bolognese from hundreds of stores after tests of the sauce showed traces of horse meat.
It's particularly problematic for Nestlé, though, thanks to remarks made by chief executive Paul Bulcke during the release of its annual results last year. Bulcke implied that the horse meat found in European food products has affected the entire global food industry, but that his company had "very stringent and very disciplined policies with our suppliers" to prevent contaminants from entering its products.
"Also quality has a price," Bulcke said. "So that is why we sometimes are a little bit more expensive, maybe, because these things, they cost money."
So it's not just horse meat that's in Nestlé's recently recalled products, but spendy, premium, Breeder's Cup-quality horse meat. Not since they were lugging machine guns across Verdun during World War I and serving as poetic metaphors for inhumanity in “All Quiet On The Western Front” have horses received such a high honor across the pond. Eat proudly, Europe.
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