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Romania Vows To Probe Horse-Meat Claims

Romania says it will investigate whether it was the source of horse meat in a growing European food scandal.

Romanian Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said on February 9 the government will ask the proper Romanian authorities to report on whether the country supplied any horse meat for export.

"I asked for a report [regarding horse-meat exports] and I don't want to comment before the president of the Sanitary-Veterinary Authority presents it to me. I hope to receive it today, and after that I will be able to give you more details. I hope to identify them (exporters) as soon as possible. In the end it is a matter of product control here, before they left for other EU markets."

Constantin said Romanian authorities would punish any violations if the reports are confirmed.

Horse meat has been detected in some beef food products -- namely lasagne -- sold in France and Britain by the food giant Findus. The company has begun pulling such products off the shelves of stores in Britain and France.

On February 9, British and French government officials promised to punish those found responsible for selling horse meat in beef products.

French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said an investigation had found that the horse meat had originated in Romania, although there were links with French, Dutch, and Cypriot firms and a factory in Luxembourg.

British Environment Minister Owen Paterson said there could be more cases of tainted food as British retailers test more processed beef products for traces of horse meat.

Analysts say the scandal could rock consumer confidence in Europe's giant food industry, with pressure rising for greater checks.

The fresh scandal comes less than a month after supermarket chain Tesco and the fast food outlet Burger King found horse meat in beef burgers.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting