Claim: Food products sold by Aldi contain horsemeat.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2013]
Origins: Aldi is a German-based global discount supermarket chain that operates about 8,000 stores worldwide, primarily in Europe, Australia, and the United States. It was the subject of a minor scandal that broke in February 2013 when Aldi stores in the United Kingdom withdrew some frozen ready-to-eat food products from sale after the discovery that they actually contained horsemeat rather than the 100% beef indicated on their labeling. However, this problem was not unique to Aldi: other food vendors in Sweden and France were also caught up in the issue, which stemmed from their unknowingly receiving horsemeat-tainted products from a supplier (Comigel), who in turn blamed the problem on a subsupplier:
Six big French retailers — Auchan, Casino, Carrefour, Cora, Picard and Monoprix — said that they were recalling lasagne and other products.
Findus Nordic, which oversees Findus throughout the Nordic region, said it has begun legal action
The British arm of Findus said it is considering legal action against suppliers as well. Early results of an internal investigation "strongly suggest" the horse meat contamination of a beef lasagna product "was not accidental," the company said.
"We are only at the beginning of our legal process. Comigel will end up in a lot of legal processes going forward, I imagine," Findus Nordic CEO Jari Latvanen said. "Comigel is the villain."
Comigel CEO Erick Lehagre told French news agency Agence France-Presse that his company had been "fooled" by a French supplier. "We were victims," he said, according to AFP.
Comigel, which also produced the contaminated Findus beef lasagnes, has blamed its suppliers. Erick Lehagre said he believed his company was buying French beef from a company called Spanghero but it had since told him it had come from Romania.
A spokesman for Aldi said random tests had shown that the products they had withdrawn contained between 30% and 100% horsemeat.
"This is completely unacceptable and like other affected companies, we feel angry and let down by our supplier. If the label says beef, our customers expect it to be beef. Suppliers are absolutely clear that they are required to meet our stringent specifications and that we do not tolerate any failure to do so," he said.
Last updated: 25 January 2016
Levs, Josh and Per Nyberg. "Battle Over Blame After Horse Meat Found in Beef Products." CNN. 15 February 2013. The Guardian. "Aldi Confirms Up to 100% Horsemeat in Beef Products." 9 February 2013.