Nestlé withdraws products with beef
The withdrawal of two chilled pasta products by Nestlé has brought the largest food company in the world into the horse meat scandal and, more tangentially, the world’s largest beef producer.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Nestlé is the owner of such brands as Perrier, Gerber, Nescafé, KitKat and Häagen Dazs. The multinational has withdrawn two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini, in Italy and Spain.
Lasagne à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product for catering businesses produced in France, is also being withdrawn.
The products have been found to contain horse DNA, the company said. A spokeswoman for Nestlé in London said it does not sell its Buitoni ready meals in Ireland.
Nestlé has a substantial presence in Ireland. It markets about 70 brands here in the beverage, confectionery, cereals, food, petcare and infant nutrition sectors. Nestlé’s purchase of Pfizer Nutrition last year saw it take over the Pfizer infant formula plant in Askeaton, Co Limerick, where about 650 people are employed.
The chilled beef products withdrawn in Italy and Spain were purchased from JBS Toledo, which is based in Belgium and is part of the Brazilian JBS group, the largest beef producer in the world by sales.
The meat in the products came from a German company subcontracted by JBS Toledo and called HJ Schypke.
It said it was exclusively a processing operation and did not slaughter or “chop up” animals.
“We buy all raw materials already chopped up, fresh or frozen, from certified suppliers . . . we would like to point out expressly that HJ Schypke has at no time purchased horse meat.”
The Schypke plant is close to Hamburg.
Yesterday Nestlé London said it had tested samples of all of its processed beef products sold “in the UK and Ireland” and found them to be clear of horse DNA. However the spokeswoman later clarified that the brands, seven Jenny Craig products and two Gerber baby food products, are not sold in Ireland.