The Netherlands is recalling 50,000 tons of meat that was sold as beef across Europe and possibly contains horse meat, because the exact source of the meat cannot be established.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said that around 370 different companies around Europe and 130 more in the Netherlands are affected by the recall because they bought meat from two Dutch trading companies.
It said that because the exact source of the meat cannot be traced, "its safety cannot be guaranteed."
The authority added that the Dutch currently have "no concrete indications that there is a risk to public health."
They began a large-scale investigation into the country's meat industry in February following revelations across Europe that horse meat was being sold as beef. In all, 370 different companies around Europe and 132 more in the Netherlands are affected by the latest recall because they bought meat from two Dutch trading companies, said an authority spokeswoman.
The recall covers meat dating back to January 1, 2011, up until February 15 this year, when the companies at the heart of the recall were placed under heightened scrutiny and faced criminal investigations.
She conceded that - because the recall dates back more than two years - some of the meat "may already have been consumed."
The authority named two companies with the same owner as the source of the meat covered by the recall: Wiljo Import en Export B.V. and Vleesgroothandel Willy Selten B.V.
It was not immediately clear how much of the meat is likely to be tracked down. Dutch authorities say they have no plans to test all the meat. The recall covers countries including France, Germany and Spain and the nations involved are responsible for managing it.