Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is aware of the information regarding horsemeat production in Argentina disclosed in the media. The Commission recalls that the slaughter of injured horses and pregnant mares is allowed under EU legislation provided that the rules on the welfare of the animals are followed and the meat of the animals is found fit for human consumption.
The Commission takes actions to ensure that the Union legislation is respected and the import requirements for horsemeat are fulfilled. Those actions are taken in line with Union legislation and, in the case of third countries, also in line with the Union’s international obligations within the World Trade Organisation.
The Commission bases its actions on official controls and on the results of its audits, including audits in Argentina and other countries. When audits have identified shortcomings, they have resulted in recommendations for corrective actions, including on traceability .
The Commission carefully assess the actions taken by the countries to address the recommendations. In the case of Argentina, recommendations concerned the improvement of official controls in horse collection centres, correct enforcement of national legislation on veterinary medicines and a proper implementation of post-mortem inspection.
Specifically as regards Mexico, the audits established that horses treated with unauthorised veterinary medicinal products had been slaughtered for human consumption and for further export to EU.
This was confirmed by the results of tests carried out at EU borders. As a consequence, the EU took measures to ban imports of horsemeat from Mexico. Actions taken by Mexico to address the identified shortcomings will be carefully assessed before such exports can resume.
-  Commission Implementing Decision 2014/891/EU.