Horse meat found in Nestlé meals

Buitoni ravioli, tortellini and lasagna dishes in Europe all test positive for equine DNA as beef scare spreads.

By Jason Notte Feb 19, 2013 5:01PM
Packages of Buitoni meat ravioli are pictured on display on a supermarket shelf in Madrid on February 19, 2013 (Paul Hanna/Newscom/Reuters)
 OK, Europe, maybe it's time to start assuming that any ready-made meal containing ground beef has at least a little bit of horse meat in it.

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.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 19, 2013 7:55PM
As close as I'll get to being a purebred. Somebody needs to quit horse-ing around.
Feb 19, 2013 9:35PM
Wish these food processors would stop horsing around and messing with our food quality.
Feb 20, 2013 12:18PM
In fact I see it now....  a new campaign,,,, I can see it now,,"The Whopper,,, the home of the Breeders Cup Burger"...,,,," Eat  slow,,,, Run fast"
Feb 20, 2013 1:18AM

no reason for a long face about it

Feb 20, 2013 6:49PM
I don't understand......did these companies really think that they were buying pure beef, from cattle, for that cheap money?! Talk about being blind to reality. M****duced pure beef products, being cheap? Not on this continent, not on any continent, not even Mexico or Russia.
Feb 20, 2013 12:14PM
If you're calling Burger King good company, you've shot your creds in the foot...
Feb 22, 2013 10:52PM
A LOT OF people have to be involed in ANY thing like this horse meat scandal. i believe that our justice department people should be involved immediatly. i have a hard time thinking a fbi or dea agent would be feedilng their family horsemeat but it looks like the fda find it tasty are this would not be happening. my best bet is that it will get worse before getting better
Feb 20, 2013 12:15PM
At least it's Breeders Cup quality !
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