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More horse meat items pulled from European supermarket shelves

French farmers hold placard as they demonstrate support cooperative Lur Berri group which includes Spanghero society which is identified by

French farmers hold a placard as they demonstrate in support of the cooperative Lur Berri group, which includes Spanghero society, which is identified by French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon as a major culprit in the use of horse meat in food products, in Aicirits, southwestern France, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. Tests have found horsemeat in school meals, hospital food and restaurant dishes in Britain, as the scandal over adulterated meat spread beyond frozen supermarket products, and Britain's Environment Secretary Owen Paterson called for a Europe-wide overhaul of food testing in the wake of the ongoing horsemeat scandal. The Spanghero company denied wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

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Updated: March 20, 2013 6:32AM

BERLIN — German officials on Monday vowed tighter controls on meat products and stronger penalties for companies that violate food-labeling rules as more items marketed as “all beef” were pulled from supermarket shelves after testing positive for horse meat.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is one of several countries across the continent investigating the improper use of horsemeat and mislabeling of meat products in a still-unfolding scandal.

Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner and her state counterparts announced a 10-point plan seeking to allay Germans’ fears after five national supermarkets recalled lasagna, chili, tortellini and goulash — all with traces of horse meat. Most recently, German discount supermarket Lidl on Monday said it had recalled Combino brand “Beef Tortelloni,” sold at its stores in Austria, after tests showed it contained horse meat.

Aigner said Germany will step up testing and look for any meat not clearly noted on the label — not just horse. “I can’t say this is the end,” she told reporters. “We have to count on other cases being discovered.”

In addition to implementing a European Union action plan on testing meat products, some of Germany’s other plans include making sure consumers are more quickly informed as soon as a company has detected that its product may be mislabeled, and facilitating better information flow between state and federal agencies.

Horse meat has turned up across Europe in frozen supermarket meals such as burgers and lasagna, as well as in in beef pasta sauce, on restaurant menus, in school lunches and in hospital meals.

Millions of products were pulled from store shelves in Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway after the scandal broke, and supermarkets and food suppliers were told to test processed beef products for horse DNA. AP

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