Russian watchdog finds foreign DNA in ground pork at Auchan chain

Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Oversight Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has reported another violation at Auchan after finding foreign DNA in ground pork sold at the retail chain.

Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Oversight Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has reported more violations at Auchan.

As a result of the inspections at four Auchan hypermarkets, Rosselkhoznadzor specialists uncovered cattle, chicken and sheep DNA in ground pork; in semi-kebab made from beef and lamb they found pork, cattle and sheep DNA.

"This allows us to make the conclusion that meat is being falsified by switching one type of meat with another, less expensive type," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.

Earlier on Aug. 4 the veterinary service also reported horse DNA in ground pork.

"Right now we don't have the test report from Rosselkhoznadzor showing all the original information, therefore, we cannot say for sure about which product exactly they are talking. It is unlikely that this product is produced in the Auchan meat section, as we do not use horsemeat in our production. It is likely that this product is from the supplier. We have requested additional information from Rosselkhoznadzor to be sure," the Auchan Russia director for external communication, Maria Kurnosova, told Interfax.

The Auchan press service said that the company does not use horse meat and suggested that it could be a product from the supplier.

Rosselkhoznadzor said that Auchan broke the technical regulations of the Customs Union, which establish mandatory requirements for food products and labeling. The documents from the checks will be sent to a court to bring administrative responsibility to the retailer in line with administrative code 14.43 of the Russian Federation.

Inspections were conducted at four Auchan hypermarkets, in the Moscow area, Auchan Sokolniki, Auchan Aviapark, Auchan Marfino, and Auchan Rublyovo between 14 and 21 July. The watchdog followed the composition of meat production (ground beef, pork, and kebab) produced by Auchan, which were for sale in the frozen food isles in the stores.

According to the results of the inspection, Rosselkhoznadzor came to the conclusion that of 15 out of 17 types of raw meat products indicated on Auchan labels, did not conform to what was actually in the package, which is 89% falsification of food products.

Auchan is starting an internal investigation for specifying details of the inspections carried out by Rosselkhoznadzor, Kurnosova told Interfax.

Earlier the watchdog found that sausage past its use-by date was being used to make pizza at an Auchan hypermarket. On July 20, pizza was being made with smoked sausage with a use-by date of July 5.

The watchdog has also found Auchan stores selling meat past its use-by date. A distribution center shipped chilled meat with a use-by date in 24-48 hours, but after it was processed at hypermarkets (removed from vacuum packaging, cut), the labels stated a use-by date in 48 to 72 hours. The use-by period for meat after it is removed from vacuum packaging is not supposed to exceed 12 hours, the regulator said.

Rosselkhoznadzor found 246.2 kg of such product, all of which was removed from store shelves.

"The identified shortcomings arose after the introduction of a new technical regulation of the Customs Union on the safety of meat and meat products, according to which the producer is supposed to indicate the use-by date after opening of packaging. In the future, Auchan will go by the recommended standards for use-by dates," Kurnosova said.

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