Quantcast

Criminal Investigation Launched After 'Sick Cow' Scandal in Poland

Food
Poland produces about 560,000 metric tons of beef a year, with 85 percent of it exported. Thomas Bjørkan / CC BY-SA 3.0

A tainted meat scandal is rocking Europe after an undercover reporter revealed workers at a Polish slaughterhouse mistreating and killing sick cows and selling the beef for human consumption.

Nearly three metric tons of suspect meat has reached least a dozen European Union countries, according to EuroNews, including Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.


Secret footage of an abattoir in Poland's Mazovia region shows cows that are so sick they can't even stand and being dragged into slaughter, as well as workers cutting off signs of illness such as tumors and pressure sores from the carcasses, as the Guardian detailed.

Polish authorities have since shut down the operation. Withdrawals of the meat are also ongoing, Anca Paduraru, European Commission spokeswoman for food safety, told Euronews.

"We are in close contact with the Polish authorities and at the request of the European Commission on the 29th of January the rapid alert system for food and feed has been triggered by Poland and this allowed the tracing and the withdrawal from the market of the concerned meat," she said.

Poland sick cow slaughterhouse: withdrawals of meat exported to EU 'ongoing' www.youtube.com

Polish police have launched a criminal investigation into two companies in response to the undercover report, according to Reuters. The European Commission will also send inspectors to Poland on Monday to assist with the investigation.

Poland produces about 560,000 metric tons of beef a year, with 85 percent of it exported.

The country's chief veterinarian Pawel Niemczuk said that new measures will be implemented at slaughterhouses to prevent another similar situation.

"Video surveillance will be available 24 hours a day, but there should be someone with medical and veterinary knowledge that would (be able to) come and assess if the animals are unloaded in line with regulations," Niemczuk said, as quoted by Reuters.

Poland's Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski also called the case an "isolated incident," according to Euractiv.

But Patryk Szczepaniak, the reporter who exposed the story on news channel TVN2, told the Guardian that the practice of slaughtering sick cows and exporting the beef could be much more widespread.

Szczepaniak, who worked undercover at the abattoir for three weeks, said dozens of people have reached out and told him about similar practices in other parts of the country.

"My inbox is full of messages from people who live near slaughterhouses, former employees of slaughterhouses, former law-enforcement and regulatory officials, all claiming that similar things have been happening where they are," he said to the Guardian. "It has been a full-time job just following them all up—more is definitely going to come out about this."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Juvenile hatchery salmon flushed from a tanker truck in San Francisco Bay, California. Ben Moon

That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.

Read More Show Less
Natdanai Pankong / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less