Czech food inspectors, who on Wednesday confirmed the presence of horsemeat in frozen lasagne by the firm Nowaco, have warned customers about a second suspect product on the market. The Czech Food Inspection authority received warning from Germany via the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed regarding lasagne made by Eisemann in Luxembourg which has also been found to contain horsemeat. Although horsemeat is legally sold in the Czech Republic, in the form of salami, its presence must clearly be stated on the label. Violation of the law can result in a fine of up to 3 million crowns.
The Czech Republic became the latest country to be hit by the horsemeat scandal on Wednesday, after officials confirmed the presence of horse DNA in frozen lasagne labelled as containing beef. The imported lasagne – sold at a Tesco supermarket in the city of Plzeň – has now been withdrawn as Czech authorities carry out further tests.
Two batches of pre-made frozen lasagna that were set to be sold by Tesco in the Czech Republic were found to contain horsemeat instead of beef, which was stated in the ingredients. The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority ordered Tesco to take all of the Nowaco frozen lasagna off the shelves, since the label was misleading customers. The batches that were found to contain horsemeat were marked as having been produced in Luxembourg. Horsemeat can be legally sold in the Czech Republic.
František Čuba, the 77-year-old former head of a Communist-era agricultural collective, will serve as an advisor on farming issues to President Miloš Zeman when he is installed at Prague Castle, the two men announced after a meeting on Tuesday. Mr. Čuba, who is a member of Mr. Zeman’s Citizens’ Rights Party, is known for heading a collective farm at Slušovice in South Moravia in the 1980s; the farm achieved a “socialist miracle” by branching out into other areas of the economy and generating huge turnover.
In Business News this week: The current Czech recession equals in length the longest previously recorded; the industry minister says the government will look into the issue of excessively high prices set for solar power; Becherovka loses CZK 100 million due to a spirits ban; and art collectors have spent in CZK 5.4 billion at Czech auctions in the last decade.
There is mounting speculation regarding the possible dismissal of Culture Minister Alena Hanáková who has come under fire for incompetence. The ruling TOP 09 party which appointed her to the post on Thursday met to discuss the situation. The party has come under pressure from its coalition partners who clearly consider Ms. Hanáková a weak link in the cabinet. The culture minister says no one has approached her on the matter but according to well-informed sources cited by Czech Television her party has already approached the head of the Prague Music Academy Ivo Mathe with an offer for him to take over the ministry of culture.
From March 1, the on-farm slaughter of crocodiles – and the processing of crocodile meat for sale to consumers – will be allowed in the Czech Republic. The Agriculture Ministry approved the regulation change following consultation with Brussels when it became apparent that a crocodile farm in southern Moravia housing more than 200 specimens had no legal way of culling its crocs.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority secured 320 litres of spirits lacking proper documentation at an illegal warehouse in Karlovy Vary, blocking distribution to retailers. Police and customs officials helped in the operation. According to an official, the lack of documentation as well as packs of unused labels (belonging to producer Likérka Drak), suggest illegal alcohol production. Samples of the spirits uncovered are being tested: the results will be known next week. Forty people in the Czech Republic died from methanol poisoning over the last six months after consuming bootleg liquor.
The president of the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries, Miroslav Toman, has called on the Czech authorities to ban imports of foodstuffs from Poland unless it introduces more thorough controls. However, the Czech Ministry of Agriculture said such a move was not the order of the day. Some supermarkets removed Polish-produced biscuits from their shelves when it was found they could contain rat poison, although in sufficient quantities to harm human health. Last year, some table salt imported from Poland was also found to be contaminated.
In this week’s business news: The Czech Republic will have to build around 13 000 charging points for electric cars by 2020; The greatest number of foreign investors have decided to enter the Czech market last year since the beginning of the economic crisis; ČEZ’s distribution license in Albania has been revokes by the government there; Czech government debt is the eighth lowest in the whole of the EU; Budvar was unable to stop rival Anheuser-Busch from having the right to register the ‘Bud’ trademark in Europe.
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