Poland exports 2,700 kg suspect beef to fellow EU countries:authorities

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WARSAW, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Poland has exported 2,700 kilograms of suspect beef to other EU countries, the Polish authorities said on Thursday.

Meat processing plants received around 9,500 kilograms of suspect meat, of which 2,700 kilograms were exported to fellow EU countries, Polish Chief Veterinary Officer Pawel Niemczuk said at a news conference.

The suspect meat went to Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Estonia, Finland, France, Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia, Niemczuk announced after a local television report revealed sick cows being slaughtered and sold.

Niemczuk said that the above-mentioned countries were asking about the actions of the Polish authorities and most of them had been convinced that it was an individual case.

"The meat is being voluntarily withdrawn, " the chief veterinary officer added.

Polish authorities will set up cameras and hire more inspection personnel to prevent suspect meat to be exported, Niemczuk said.

The country plans to spend some 120 million zlotys (32 million U.S. dollars) in the next three years to implement the measures.

Niemczuk said that police have launched an investigation into two companies after the media report.

Local media reported that European Union Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said that EU food inspectors will arrive in Poland next Monday.

Andriukaitis pointed out that currently the priority is to trace and withdraw from the market of the countries all the products originated from the two Polish companies, and the action needs to be taken swiftly.

He urged Poland to impose heavy penalties on "the perpetrators of such criminal behaviour that could pose a risk to public health and portrays an unacceptable treatment of animals". Enditem

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