COPENHAGEN/DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - Danish food producer Tulip said it had asked several German retailers to recall two ready-made pasta products on suspicion they contain horsemeat.
Tulip buys the products - Lasagne Bolognese and Cannelloni Bolognese - from French supplier Comigel, which is at the heart of a scandal over horsemeat sold as beef.
The scandal erupted when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that meat in products labelled as beef was in fact up to 100 percent horsemeat.
Concern grew last week when the British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne on advice from supplier Comigel after tests showed concentrations of horsemeat ranging from 60 to 100 percent.
Tulip, part of the Danish Crown group, buys ready-made meals from Comigel and re-sells them to German companies including Rewe, Germany’s second-biggest food retailer.
It asked the companies this week to stop selling the products as it had “simply lost confidence” in reassurances from Comigel, the head of Tulip’s German activities, Rene Olsen said.
“On Tuesday morning we contacted Rewe to tell them we would like them to recall the products we deliver to them, because we suspected there could be horsemeat in those products,” Olsen said. He declined to name Tulip’s other German customers, saying only there were five or six.
He said the two products had not been sold by Tulip to any other country than Germany and that Tulip did not itself use or produce horsemeat.
Rewe said it had removed the products in question from its shelves. It added its own-brand products were not affected.
German supermarket chain Real, part of the world’s fourth largest retailer Metro, late on Wednesday became the first firm in Europe’s biggest economy to say tests had revealed traces of horsemeat in frozen lasagne it sells. The products come from Comigel, it said on Thursday.
Edeka, the largest food retailer in Germany, said on Thursday it had found traces of horsemeat in frozen lasagne and that the product in question had been removed from shelves on Tuesday. It was checking another two products, although no similar traces had yet been found, it said.
Another German retailer, Tengelmann, on Wednesday removed a frozen lasagne product from its shelves on suspicion it could contain traces of horsemeat.
Reporting by Mette Fraende in Copenhagen and Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Andrew Roche