The European Commission on February 1 confirmed a TV report from Poland that showed a Polish beef exporting company killing sick cows and selling the meat for human consumption. During its daily briefing in Brussels, the Commission said a team of inspectors would travel to Poland on February 4 to further assess the extent of the scandal

“A team of European Commission auditors will be deployed to Poland on Monday to assess the situation on the ground,” the European Commission Spokesperson for Health, Anca Paduraru told reporters, confirming that the meat has been sent from the Polish supplier to 12 other countries in the European Union.

According to the European Commission’s online Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), which allows national food and feed control authorities in the EEA to share information about measures taken in response to serious risks detected, Poland’s original notification was followed by alerts from Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden.

“The priority today is to trace and withdraw from the market all of the products that originated from this (particular) slaughterhouse,” European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said in a statement while urging the bloc to take immediate action.

Poland produces about 560,000 tonnes of beef a year, with 85% exported to countries within the European Union, including Britain, Spain, Italy, and Germany.

Poland’s chief vet Pawel Niemczuk said in Warsaw that out of 9,500 kilograms of illegally slaughtered meat that came from two Polish companies, 2,700 kilograms had been exported to other EU countries. Niemczuk and Chief Sanitary Inspector Jaroslaw Pinkas informed Polish reporters that the meat came from a slaughterhouse in Ostrów Mazowiecka in the country’s northeast and “is safe for people’s health”.

The slaughterhouse in question has been closed, its entitlements have been withdrawn, and the meat that is currently in storage will be destroyed.