LONDON - As Britons choke on discovering they may have eaten horse that was imported as beef, and ministers blame an "international criminal conspiracy", this new scandal has exposed the sometimes murky labyrinth by which food reaches Europe's dinner tables.
Lurid headlines reveal a culinary gulf between distaste for the notion of horse-meat in Britain and its status as a delicacy elsewhere in Europe. But as governments play down the health risks, a greater impact may stem from a shattering of public confidence in EU systems of labelling and quality control introduced after previous threats hit the human food chain.
As details emerge of a complex network of slaughterhouses and middlemen standing between the farm and the supermarkets across Europe, France and Britain have vowed to punish those found responsible for selling horse-meat purporting to be beef.
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