Legal action over the horsemeat scandal will be taken in Europe after the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson described it as "a case of fraud" against the public. The government says cases appear to be widespread across Europe, but has ruled out a ban on meat imports:
This is a case of fraud and a conspiracy against the public, this is a criminal action, substituting one material for another. If a British consumer goes into a retail store and buys a beef product, they should expect to get beef in that product, not horse.
So this is a straight case of fraud and I think you will see legal actions beginning in certain continental countries today. I will be taking it up with certain ministers and also with the Commission in Europe, because this is overall a European Commission competence.
It is absolutely unacceptable that consumers are being passed off with one product when they buy another.
A leading food scientist says the rule change that sparked the horsemeat beef scandal affected lamb products too, and they should be tested.
Retailers and the Food Standards Agency held an emergency meeting today to decide how to proceed with the horsemeat scandal.
The government has called an emergency meeting with retailers and the Food Standards Agency to discuss the horsemeat scandal.