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Portugal seizes 79 tonnes of meat containing horse

Portuguese authorities said they had launched fraud proceedings after seizing 79 tonnes of wholesale food and thousands of packaged meals that contained horsemeat despite not being labelled with it.

The 79 tonnes of “meat and meat-based products” were seized in plants that processed, packaged and distributed meat to supermarkets, the government’s Economic and Food Safety Authority said in a statement.

Authorities also seized nearly 19,000 packets of food “such as lasagne, hamburgers, canneloni and meatballs” in retail and distribution outlets, said the statement published Tuesday.

Five criminal cases of fraud were opened over the seizures, it added, without giving further derails.

A vast food scandal has erupted across Europe after horsemeat was found in supposedly beef ready-made meals and burgers in Britain and Ireland.

Among various companies implicated in the scandal, Swiss food giant Nestle last week withdrew dishes destined for restaurants in Portugal, Spain and Italy.