President François Hollande has demanded stiff penalties for those guilty of passing off horse meat as beef as investigators stepped up their inquiry into French companies caught up in the scandal.
In his first public comments since it was revealed that beef products contaminated with horse meat were supplied by a French company, Mr Hollande said national and European authorities had “an equal duty” to reassure consumers about the sourcing of food products.
“There has clearly been abuse of profits and unacceptable behaviour,” he said. He called for criminal sanctions against those responsible.
The French anti-fraud agency said it had raided a number of French companies, including Comigel, the food processor based in northeastern France that supplied lasagne and other “beef” products to Findus and high street retailers in Britain and elsewhere which were found last week to contain horse meat.