LISBON, Portugal -- Portuguese authorities say they have seized 79 metric tons (87 U.S. tons) of beef products containing traces of horse meat in recent days and opened criminal proceedings against five local companies.
Horse meat has recently been found mixed into beef dishes sold across Europe, including in frozen supermarket meals. It has also been found in meals served at restaurants, schools and hospitals.
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Portugal's Food Safety Agency said late Tuesday it made the seizures at companies that process, package and distribute meat to large retail outlets.
The agency said in a statement on its website that it also took almost 19,000 pre-packed products from Portuguese stores after detecting horse meat in them. They included lasagnas, hamburgers and meatballs.