Horse meat scandal 'a watershed moment'

The horse meat scandal could be a watershed moment with positive consequences for consumers, according to the Environment Secretary.

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The "crisis" has prompted increased sales of Scotch-labelled produce and a closer interest in where food comes from, Richard Lochhead said in a ministerial statement to MSPs at Holyrood.

"The horse meat scandal has undermined consumer trust in some parts of the food industry," he said.

"But it may be a watershed moment in how people think about food, and that could end up being a good thing.

"There's an absolute need for every step of the food chain to take responsibility for the food it produces and to ensure that Scottish consumers can have total confidence that what they buy is what it says on the label."

The scandal came to light last month when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland announced the discovery of equine DNA in some beef burgers.

Since then, mislabelled meat has been found in supermarket ready meals and "value" products, and traced back through the food chain in several European countries.

Meanwhile, the world's biggest food company Nestle confirmed that three of its products were recalled in France, Italy and Spain.

They had not been on sale in the UK.

Food and drink

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