Rome, February 21 - Health Minister Renato Balduzzi said Thursday that he is going to soon sign an order establishing a new registry of equine health. The registry will require notification of all medical examinations of horses, to ensure the traceability of animals and to protect public health. The announcement comes amid a European-wide scandal over prepared food products labelled as containing beef but instead, containing horse meat. Government ministers across Europe have been careful to say that the problem is not one of public health, but instead of mislabeling and consumer deception. The widening scandal - which has spread to Norway, Russia, Italy and Spain - began earlier this month when British food company Findus (no relation to Italy's Findus) began to recall prepared products, including lasagna, after discovering it was made with horse meat rather than beef as promised on the package. That has led to a further recalls by various companies across Europe and raised concerns about how carefully the ingredients in prepared foods are actually tracked. Swiss food giant Nestle' on Tuesday became the latest company touched by a Europe-wide food scandal when it announced it would withdraw Buitoni-branded beef ravioli from Spanish and Italian supermarkets after it discovered small traces of horse DNA in the products.
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di Giovanni Pastore