Europe horsemeat scandal spreads to Asia

PARIS (AFP) - The fallout from Europe's horsemeat scandal has spread far outside the continent, with an imported lasagne brand pulled from shelves in Hong Kong and a new row over the treatment of horses farmed in the Americas.

A host of top players have been caught up in the spiralling scandal including Nestle, the world's biggest food company, top beef producer JBS of Brazil and British supermarket chain Tesco.

Hong Kong authorities ordered ParknShop, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the city, to remove lasagne made by frozen food giant Findus, one of the firms at the centre of the scandal.

The product was imported from Britain and made by French firm Comigel.

Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety said Wednesday that the item "might be adulterated with horsemeat which has not undergone tests for veterinary drugs".

The chain, owned by tycoon Li Ka-shing, has about 280 stores in Hong Kong and the neighbouring gaming hub of Macau.

In Europe, the Czech Republic became the latest country embroiled in the horsemeat affair, with food inspectors ordering Tesco to withdraw Nowaco brand frozen "beef" lasagne after detecting horsemeat.

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority said it had found horse DNA in two samples of the Nowaco meals manufactured by the Tavola company in Luxembourg.

Croatian company Ledo, which imported beef lasagne containing horsemeat into Slovenia, on Wednesday also accused Tavola of being responsible.

Supermarkets in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, France, Austria, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Slovenia have all removed meals from shelves.