À la Table de Spanghero
|Privately held company|
|Founded||Castelnaudary, France (1970 )|
|Founder||Claude and Laurent Spanghero|
|Barthélémy Aguerre (President)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Lur Berri (through Poujol)|
À la Table de Spanghero, commonly known as Spanghero, is a French meat processing company based in Castelnaudary, Aude. Products include sausages, cassoulet, minced meat, and ready meals. The Lur Berri cooperative owns 99% of the company through its holding Poujol.
The company was founded in 1970 as Spanghero SA in Castelnaudary by Claude and Laurent Spanghero, two former France international rugby players. In the 1990s, it was being run by Laurent, Claude and Guy Spanghero. In 2009 the Lur Berri cooperative acquired a 90% stake in Spanghero through its holding Poujol. In 2011 the company name was changed to À la Table de Spanghero, and by June 2012 executives Laurent, David and Jean-Marc Spanghero had all left the company. In February 2013, Lur Berri owned 99% of Spanghero.
In June 2011 the company had to withdraw 12 tonnes of mince because of suspected contamination by E.coli, which causes potentially fatal food poisoning. Further analysis showed the absence of pathogenic bacteria.
Spanghero is implicated in the 2013 horse meat contamination scandal, having supplied meat labelled as beef but actually horse to Comigel, which was then used in frozen food products such as lasagne, sold in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Sweden. The company stated that it had not opened the packages of frozen meat product before sending them on to the Luxembourg factory of the Comigel subsidiary Tavola. The packages had been labelled minerai de bœuf désossé surgelé (origine Roumanie), meaning "frozen boneless beef bulk packs (origin Romania)". Spanghero also said that they wanted to be sure that it was the product that they had supplied that was in question, because they were not Tavola's only supplier.
On 14 February 2013, the French government confirmed that Spanghero knowingly sold horsemeat labelled as beef, and the company's licence was suspended. Spanghero president Barthélémy Aguerre denied the claims and several workers demonstrated against the suspension, while consumer protection minister Benoît Hamon defended the government's decision.
On 18 February, Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry announced that he had "sufficient evidence" to restore all the company's licences (meat cutting, charcuterie,...) except frozen storage.
In March 2013, food inspectors found 57 tonnes of frozen sheepmeat at Spanghero, that had been imported from the United Kingdom and that included mechanically recovered meat (MSM). MSM is banned in the European Union, as it may contain fragments of bone. Bones of bovines, ovines or caprids may not be imported into EU countries from countries with a risk of spongiform encepalopathies; this includes the UK, following the mad cow disease outbreak of the 1990s, and the prevalence of scrapie among sheep there. Spanghero blamed its supplier Draap for false labelling.
- "Lur Berri, une coopérative devenue "monstre" agroalimentaire" (in French). EITB. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Sawer, Patrick; Ensor, Josie (9 February 2013). "French firm supplying horse meat was previously at centre of E.coli scare". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Maigne, Jacques (29 March 1995). "Les fractures de la société française : Walter Spanghero "Avoir un nom ne suffit plus..."". Libération (in French). Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- ""On ne touche pas la viande", déclare la société Spanghero". Le Dauphiné Libéré (in French). 10 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Il n'y a plus de Spanghero chez Spanghero". Midi Libre (in French). 23 June 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Viande de cheval : zoom sur les 4 principaux acteurs du scandale". Le Nouvel Observateur (in French). AFP. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Lasagnes à la viande de cheval : une fraude à l'échelle européenne". Libération (in French). AFP. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Horsemeat scandal: France blames processor Spanghero". BBC News Online. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Chrisafis, Angelique (15 February 2013). "Horsemeat scandal: French inspectors scour Spanghero processing firm". The Guardian. Paris. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "De la viande de mouton prohibée chez Spanghero". Le Figaro. 19 March 2013. Accessed 21 March 2013.