Atelier 3, article 4

© IHT (Wednesday, October 25, 2000) :

"More Stores in France Sold Dubious Beef"

Paris-- Cases of mad cow disease have increased sharply in France this year, with 73 reported so far, up from 31 in 1999. 

Over the weekend, the Carrefour supermarket chain said it had urgently cleared shelves in 39 stores that may have sold potentially infected meat. It appealed to customers to return beef with expiration dates from Oct. 10-15. 

Spokesmen for the Auchan and Cora supermarket chains said some of their stores in northern France and near Paris had placed the potentially tainted meat on sale between Oct. 17 and last Friday. "As far as we know," a spokesman for Auchan said, "it was all sold." 

The recall concerned only one Auchan supermarket, in the northern city of Valenciennes. 

A spokesman for Cora said that only some of the meat had been taken off the shelves at two of its stores --in the Marne region east of Paris and the Essonne region south of the capital. 

"Early Monday, we quickly moved to withdraw the meat from the shelves, but some of it had already been sold," the spokesman said. 

The two companies placed advertisements asking customers to return the meat and set up a telephone hot line. 

The meat was put on sale before news emerged at the weekend that a diseased cow had been discovered in western France as it was due to be slaughtered. 

Veterinary officials at the abattoir separated the sick cow from the others due for slaughter, but it later emerged that 13 animals from the cow’s original herd had already been slaughtered and the meat sold, mainly to Carrefour. 

A local cattle dealer has been charged with trying to hide an infected cow within a healthy herd.