CONSUMPTION: Chicken pieces, containing water content above the European standard, has been distributed to charities
- Nearly 360 tonnes of water-seared chicken cutlets, which shrink when cooked, have been distributed to charities.
- If the pieces contain a water content higher than the European standard, they do not represent a danger for consumption.
- Already in June, chopped steaks, which contained excess fat and poor quality fabrics, had been sent to aid organizations for the poor.
Is it an error or a fraud? Nearly 360 tonnes of water-fed chicken cutlets have been distributed to charity organizations, even though they were sold at the price of meat by a Danish supplier, the food bank network announced on Monday, confirming information from RTL and Franceinfo .
Already in June, 1,500 tons of “fake steaks” , which contained a mixture of fat, poor quality fabrics, starch and soy, but sold as meat, had already been distributed to charities. The goods, supplied by a French company sourcing from a Polish manufacturer, presented no danger to the health of consumers. 20 Minutes takes stock of this new food scandal.
What happened ?
Nearly 360 tons of chicken , waterlogged, were distributed to several charities, including the Restos du Coeur, the Secours Populaire, the Red Cross or food banks, while they had paid these products at the price meat. These frozen pieces, in the form of cutlets, “narrowed like a skin of sorrows during cooking,” says RTL. Since 2018, these frozen poultry trays have been distributed under the European Fund for Assistance to the Most Deprived (FEAD) , a program designed to help the most modest to consume proteins.
How was the anomaly discovered?
The controls were carried out by the General Directorate of Social Cohesion (DGCS), the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) and FranceAgriMer. “After the case of the frozen steak, the administration decided to make checks on other foodstuffs and discovered that, on these chicken cutlets, there was a water content higher than the European standard,” says Jacques Bailet, president of the Food Banks network .
Is the product dangerous for consumers?
Suspended temporarily the time to perform the necessary analyzes, the distribution of chicken cutlets resumed a few days ago. “The administration has given us the green light in recent days to resume distribution,” says Jacques Bailet.
According to the analyzes of the State services, if the water content is higher than the European standards, the consumption of the product does not present any danger to health. “The analyzes showed that the product was consumable, distributable, but did not meet the standards. It’s more a problem of disloyalty or economic fraud than a danger of consumption, “he says, adding,” The product is safe, but simply provides less protein than expected. ”
Why was an investigation launched?
To understand how and why these pieces of chicken do not meet the standard, in terms of water content, the state has launched an investigation. The investigation, which focuses primarily on the Danish supplier, must determine whether it has deliberately added water to its products to sell at the price of meat and boost its margins.
“State services must now discover at what level the fraud has been committed. Was the producer aware? Did he do it knowingly? Same questions for the importer, “says the president of the food bank network.
Is there a failure in the quality control of these foods?
For the president of the Food Banks network, the answer is clear: “The current process of quality control must be very seriously improved. At the end of July, the Senate issued a harsh report on the subject, calling in particular for the improvement of the tender specifications. “Food banks have no way of making reliable checks on such a high number of commodities. For the steaks chopped, for example, we had received 480 tons, or 4,800,000 steaks “, alarmed Jacques Bailet, adding:” It is up to the State, the administration, FranceAgriMer to set up the control process. ”
In response, the State services announced Monday, a strengthening of controls foodstuffs for food aid. “As part of an action plan, it was decided to intensify the controls carried out by the State services by the end of this year”, announce the Ministries of Health, Economy and Agriculture, in a joint statement. Contacted by 20 Minutes , the Directorate General of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control ( DGCCRF ) did not wish to speak.