New York Times
10 March 2013
By ANDREW HIGGINS
[...] When it was first discovered that lasagna on sale in France and Britain contained horse meat, Romania, the second-poorest country in the European Union, was immediately cast as the culprit. Fed by mostly fictitious accounts of a mass slaughter of Romanian horses after the introduction of new traffic rules banning horse-drawn carts, the news media in France and Britain reported that hundreds of thousands of Romanian horses had suddenly entered the food chain.
"It is total nonsense," said Lucian Dinita, the chief of Romania's road police. The nation, he said, did introduce a law in 2006 restricting horse-drawn carts on roads, but it was scrapped two years later and led to no mass culling of unemployed horses.
Some of the horse meat that ended up in processed foods sold in France and other countries did originate in Romania, but a French government report issued last month said this had been clearly labeled as coming from horses, not cows. The fraudulent substitution of horse meat for beef - about three times the cost - occurred at a factory in southern France, the report said. [...]