EU Beef-Price Pressure Is Seen as Temporary by Rabobank

European Union consumers may temporarily cut back on consumption of processed beef products after horse meat was discovered in lasagna and moussaka labeled as containing cow, according to Rabobank International.

“You can expect some decline in purchases of processed meat products,” Albert Vernooij, red-meat analyst at Rabobank, said by phone. “There will be a small effect on consumption, but it will be temporary. It depends on how quickly the cause is determined, and how long it stays in the news.”

Supermarkets in the U.K., France, Ireland and Germany removed frozen beef burgers and lasagnas from shelves after the horse-meat finding, and France has threatened sanctions for negligence and fraud.

The EU has forecast 2013 beef consumption of 7.74 million metric tons, little changed from last year. Beef accounts for about 19 percent of meat consumption in the 27-nation bloc, with pork making up almost half.

“This could create some pressure for companies who process beef, and maybe on beef prices,” Vernooij said. “It’ll be temporary, because there is a shortage of beef in the world. Mainly because of demand in Asia.”

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