EU check of Polish slaughterhouses finds document issues

WARSAW, Poland — European Commission veterinary inspectors have uncovered document irregularities at slaughterhouses in Poland, but found no problems with the quality of beef produced there, Poland's agriculture minister said Wednesday.

The EU inspection took place last month after private TV station TVN reported that beef from lame or sick animals was exported from one Polish slaughterhouse to more than a dozen countries. Poland is a major exporter of beef and the TVN report sparked concerns across Europe. Many European countries quickly reduced their Polish beef imports and stepped up quality controls on imports.

Polish authorities have denied that the meat was unsafe.

Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski said inspections at a number of slaughterhouses across Poland have revealed many documentation problems that need addressing, but found that the meat posed no dangers to consumers.

"Meat coming from Polish slaughterhouses is safe," Ardanowski told a news conference.

But he admitted that, given the huge quantities of beef being handled, "intentional or unintentional mistakes can occur."

He said the cases shown on TVN were illegal. Prosecutors are investigating.

Ardanowski also said he's meeting the EU agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, on Monday to inform him on how Poland is implementing the recommendations.

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