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."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris, France. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

When Paris's Notre Dame caught fire on April 15, the flames threatened more than eight centuries of culture and history. The fire evoked shock, horror and grief worldwide. While the cathedral burned, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed determination to rebuild what the French regard as a sacred site.

Read More Show Less
An artist's impression of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Scientists have likely detected a so-called marsquake — an earthquake on Mars — for the first time, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hero Images / Getty Images

Across the political aisle, a majority of American parents support teaching climate change in schools even though most teachers currently do not.

Read More Show Less
Priit Siimon / flickr / cc

By Andrea Germanos

Lawyer and visionary thinker Polly Higgins, who campaigned for ecocide to be internationally recognized as a crime on par with genocide and war crimes, died Sunday at the age of 50.

She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last month and given just weeks to live.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

An E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has spread to 10 states and infected at least 156 people, CNN reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, which carries malaria. CDC / Jim Gathany

The world's first malaria vaccine was launched in Malawi on Tuesday, NPR reported. It's an important day in health history. Not only is it the first malaria vaccine, it's the first vaccine to target any human parasite.

Read More Show Less
Ice-rich permafrost has been exposed due to coastal erosion, National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska. Brandt Meixell / USGS


By Jake Johnson

An alarming study released Tuesday found that melting Arctic permafrost could add nearly $70 trillion to the global cost of climate change unless immediate action is taken to slash carbon emissions.

According to the new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, melting permafrost caused by accelerating Arctic warming would add close to $70 trillion to the overall economic impact of climate change if the planet warms by 3°C by 2100.

Read More Show Less
Jeff Reed / NYC Council

The New York City Council last week overwhelmingly passed one of the most ambitious and innovative legislative packages ever considered by any major city to combat the existential threat of climate change.

Read More Show Less