Environment Secretary Owen Paterson warned food manufacturers in Europe today Britain's "unacceptable" horsemeat scandal behooves legal action.
Mr Paterson alleged a "straight case of fraud" in the wake of recalls of supposed "beef" products from shelves across the country - with some meals found to consist mostly of horsemeat.
Mr Paterson dismissed calls for a temporary ban on meat imports but said the "extensive" scandal now appeared to have duped customers across Europe, with the suspected plant in Luxembourg issuing warnings to buyers in 16 different countries.
"If a British consumer goes into a retail store and buys a beef product, they should expect to get beef in that product, not horse," the minister said .
"So this is a straight case of fraud and I think you will see legal actions beginning in certain continental countries tomorrow.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that consumers are being passed off with one product when they buy another."
There was no case as yet for criminal action against a firm in Britain but the Food Standards Agency was "working closely" with police, he added.
French authorities are understood to have traced the supply chain through companies in France, Romania, Cyprus and the Netherlands.
At home the Food Standards Agency has ordered a swathe of food manufacturers to test their beef products' DNA in the wake of the scandal, which has exclusively affected retailers' low-end "value" foods.
The testing, ordered after Irish inspectors flagged the recall of more than 10 million "beef" burgers from Tesco, Asda and other chains, has already found that more than half of Findus-brand lasagnes sampled contained between 60 to 100 per cent horsemeat.