Waitrose to Build Frozen Meat Factory After Recalling Meatballs

Waitrose Ltd., the upmarket U.K. grocery chain, said it will build a factory to produce frozen meat products after it withdrew frozen beef meatballs that contained pork.

The plant will be located at the Yorkshire base of its fresh beef supplier Dovecote Park and will become operational within three months, Waitrose said in a statement today.

The supermarket chain is the latest to get embroiled in the U.K.’s mislabeled meat scandal, which has now spread to Europe. Waitrose withdrew its budget range frozen meatballs late yesterday. The U.K.’s Minister of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs David Heath said he told food industry representatives this morning that the current situation is “totally unacceptable.”

Retailers and food distributors had assured Heath they are on track to share “meaningful” test results by Feb. 15, when they have to submit their findings on testing for horse meat in beef products with the Food Standards Agency, he said.

The scandal widened last night when the FSA raided two meat processing plants, one in West Yorkshire and one in West Wales, in an investigation into horse meat in meat products supposed to be beef for kebabs and burgers, according to a statement on the agency’s website.

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