Germany’s development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor.
Dirk Niebel said he supported the proposal by a member of the governing CDU party, and concluded: “We can’t just throw away good food.”
The opposition dismissed the idea, but a priest said it should be considered.
Meanwhile, traces of horse DNA have been found in six tons of minced beef and 2,400 packs of lasagne bolognese seized from a company in Italy.
The products were packaged by Italian group Primia, which is based in the town of San Giovanni in Persiceto, near the city of Bologna.
The health ministry said Primia had used meat from another company in Brescia and originally supplied by two other companies, also based there.
It is the first positive test in Italy since the scandal erupted last month.
Earlier, the Italian authorities said they had found no traces of horsemeat in beef products seized this week from the Swiss food giant, Nestle.
The health ministry said the 26 tons of cooked and frozen mince beef meals would be returned. A Nestle spokesman welcomed the decision.
On Monday, Nestle announced that it was withdrawing two types of beef pasta meals from supermarkets in Italy and Spain after test revealed traces of horse DNA.
A problem was identified with a supplier in Germany, H J Schypke, it said.
Another German supplier, Dreistem, has been blamed for recalls of tinned goulash sold by the Lidl in Germany and Scandinavia, while a third, Vossko, has been accused by Liechtenstein’s Hiclona of supplying beef tainted by horse for a pasta product withdrawn in Austria and Germany. All three companies have blamed their own suppliers.
On Friday evening, Germany’s consumer affairs ministry announced that it had now found traces of horse DNA in 67 of 830 food products tested.
Germany’s development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor
On Saturday, a prominent member of the governing CDU party, Hartwig Fischer, told Bild newspaper that products tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor.
The opposition has dismissed the idea as “absurd” and an insult to poor people, but Prelate Bernhard Felmberg, the senior representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), has backed the proposal.
“We as a Church find the throw-away mentality in our society concerning. How and whether to distribute the products in question would have to be examined,” the priest said.
“But to throw away food that could be consumed without risk is equally bad as false labelling and cannot be a solution.”
Meanwhile, France’s agriculture ministry said several horse carcasses containing the drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, had probably entered the human food chain.
A ministry spokesman told the AFP news agency that it was alerted by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) that six carcasses had been exported to France in January, but that the meat had already been processed. There was only a “minor” health risk, he added.
Earlier, three major French food companies have agreed to use only French beef in their products.
Findus – one of the firms at the heart of the scandal – and retailers Carrefour and Intermarche announced at the French Agricultural Salon that they would start using labels saying “100% French” from March.
French President Francois Hollande has said he wants mandatory labelling of the origin of meat used in processed food products. However, only a change in European Union legislation can compel manufacturers.
European agriculture ministers are expected to discuss origin labelling and meat traceability at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.
Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28 billion.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G have agreed to take over Heinz, famous for its ketchup and baked beans.
In a statement, Heinz called the deal “historic”, and the largest to date in the food industry.
Shares in Heinz soared nearly 20% in New York to hit the $72.50 price being offered.
And Class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway rose 1% to $149,240 a share – a record closing high.
The takeover has been approved by the company’s board, but still needs to be voted on by shareholders.
“The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders,” said Heinz chairman, president and chief executive William Johnson.
“We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz.”
The deal will marry one of the best-known brands in the food industry with one of the US’s most famous businessmen.
Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, having amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune over decades of investing. His investment expertise has earned him the nickname “the sage of Omaha”.
“It is our kind of company,” Warren Buffett told CNBC.
“I’ve sampled it many times.”
“Anytime we see a deal is attractive and it’s our kind of business and we’ve got the money, I’m ready to go,” he said.
Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28 billion
3G Capital also owns the fast-food chain Burger King.
The deal will offer shareholders $72.50 a share, a 20% premium on the company’s previous all-time high share price.
Berkshire Hathaway will contribute $12-$13 billion in cash to the deal. In total around $23 billion of the deal will be in cash, with the rest in debt.
Heinz has been operating in the US market since it was founded in Pittsburgh in the late 19th Century.
Heinz says it sells 650 million bottles of its ketchup worldwide every year.
Emerging markets make up around a quarter of its global sales, Heinz said.
At a press conference following the announcement of the deal, 3G Capital’s co-founder Alex Behring assured Heinz employees the 144-year-old business would continue to be headquartered in Pittsburgh. But he said it was too soon to discuss potential cost-cutting measures.
If agreed, the deal would be the latest in a string of big deals announced recently, after merger activity suffered during the global financial crisis.
Earlier American Airlines and US Airways confirmed plans to merge, in an $11 billion deal to create the world’s biggest airline, and last week computer maker Dell announced a planned $24 billion takeover by its founder Michael Dell.
The UK’s Virgin Media is also set to be bought by Liberty Global for $23.3 billion.
McDonald’s disappointing sales have led the fast food giant to begin testing new menu items, including three new varieties of its prized Quarter Pounders.
The new burgers in development include a Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder, with white cheddar, hickory-smoked bacon and a new habanero-ranch sauce; a Deluxe Quarter Pounder, with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, mayonnaise and mustard; and a Bacon and Cheese Quarter Pounder, with American cheese, bacon, red onion, pickle, mustard and ketchup.
The company is also getting ready to launch a new McMuffin made with egg whites.
McDonald’s is testing its new fast food products during a time of major transition for consumer goods companies in the US, as Nation’s Restaurant News reports.
McDonald’s posted its first monthly sales drop in nine years earlier this month, amid a loss of customers to rival chains such as Burger King. McDonald’s global same-store sales fell 2.2 per cent in October.
Soon after that sales drop made headlines, McDonald’s announced plans to replace its US president, Jan Fields, who has been with the company for more than 35 years and who drove the expansion of its popular McCafe drink menu.
Jan Fields will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, McDonald’s global chief restaurant officer effective December 1, the company said.
“We feel that now was the right time to make a change in leadership for the U.S. business,” company spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said on November 15.
McDonald’s is changing up its menu with three new Quarter Pounder burgers
McDonald’s chief executive, Don Thompson, recently told investors that slow growth and increased competition in the United States would be a “new normal” for the brand, requiring a greater emphasis on less expensive menu items.
Several factors are impacting McDonald’s declining sales, including the undercooked US economy and high unemployment among younger consumers who tend to favor fast food.
Other fast food chains, including Wendy’s and Yum! Brands, which operates KFC and Pizza Hut, have been suffering similar fates.
McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 34,000 restaurants worldwide, including more than 14,000 in the United States.