February 4, 2019 / 12:36 PM / 10 months ago

Countries cutting Polish beef imports after meat scare - lobby

FILE PHOTO: A butcher arranges pieces of beef at a meat market in Gdynia, Poland. January 31 2019. REUTERS/Matej Leskovsek

WARSAW (Reuters) - Several countries have started to cut the amount of beef they import from Poland after a TV documentary showed an abattoir killing sick cows, the head of the meat producers lobby said on Monday.

An undercover reporter got a job in a slaughterhouse outside Warsaw and broadcast footage last month of ill animals being mistreated, killed and sent on for human consumption.

A team of inspectors from the European Commission arrived in Warsaw on Monday to investigate the reports, Poland’s chief veterinarian told a news conference.

No countries had cancelled meat imports from Poland, the head of the Polish Meat Association, Witold Choinski, told reporters. “But many countries are limiting their imports,” he added.

He did not name any countries or give details on the size of the cuts.

Poland produces about 560,000 tonnes of beef a year, 85 percent of it for export.

Poland’s Agriculture Minister, Jan Ardanowski, said on Monday that one case had been “exaggerated to an unimaginable size” and now threatened the image of Polish meat and food worldwide.

The separate Polish association of beef producers and breeders (PZHiPBM) said on Monday that local beef prices had fallen sharply in recent days and, if the trend continued, Polish producers could lose as much as 600 million zlotys (123 million pounds) this year.

Reporting by Anna Koper; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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