Fact Check

Aldi Horsemeat Scandal

An Aldi supplier provided the chain with meat products containing horsemeat, but that happened (and was resolved) back in 2013.

Published Nov 18, 2013

Claim:   Food products sold by Aldi contain horsemeat.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2013]

Is it true that grocery store chain ALDI USA has confirmed that there is up to 100% HORSE meat in their beef products?


Summary:   Aldi (among other food vendors) had an issue back in February 2013 with a supplier who provided them with horsemeat-tainted products, but that issue has since been resolved and did not affect consumers in the U.S.

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:

Swedish food producer Findus is only one of several companies that receive products from Comigel. Others include Axfood, Coop and ICA, which have recalled some meat products in Sweden, and Aldi, which has pulled some products from shelves in Britain.

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

against Comigel and its subsuppliers.

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.

Subsequent testing determined that the contaminated Comigel products sold by Aldi and others contained 30% to 100% horsemeat instead of beef:

Aldi said it felt "angry and let down" by its French supplier Comigel after tests on Today's Special frozen beef lasagne and Today's Special frozen spaghetti bolognese found they contained between 30% and 100% horsemeat.

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.

This issue has periodically been the subject of renewed Internet chatter in the U.S. even though the topic is an old one and (contrary to some versions) did not involve any Aldi outlets in the United States.

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.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.