After a scandal over tainted meat, German officials pledged stricter controls on the meat industry.
Germany's meat industry is under pressure due to the on-going scandal
The stories are nauseating: frozen beef or chicken or pork sitting in freezers for years before being turned into snacks sold by street vendors such as currywurst or meat patties. Meanwhile, German health inspectors continue to uncover meat past its expiration date but relabeled to appear edible as they tour warehouses - sometimes gagging from the smell of spoiled meat.
He wants more controls, inspectors
As a result of such discoveries and the ensuing public outcry, German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer said that Germany is taking measures to tighten controls.
"Even if we can say right now that there is no sign of Mafia-like networks or systems or acute health dangers, these schemes are a threat to health," Seehofer told reporters. "We must do everything to ensure these black sheep have no chance."
Seehofer said that the measures include improved information sharing between agencies, increased inspections, higher fines and harsher penalties for offenders, a ban on the sale of food products below cost price and publicizing the offenders.
Consumers too price conscious
So far, officials have been investigating certain meat traders who store large quantities of meat. In one case, officials said they seized 60 tons of meat from one company called Domenz, based in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. In another, investigators found hundreds of tons of waste from slaughterhouses -- usually used in dog food -- marked as edible for human. In Bonn, inspectors found tons of meat which had expired two years ago.
But German officials haven't left consumers off the hook either. They say that consumers are too price conscious at the expense of quality.