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Further horsemeat tests ordered

By Joe Whitworth+

15-Apr-2014

A new round of tests to see if beef products contain horse has been ordered by the European Commission.

The testing has been requested for all member states to ensure the problems discovered last year do not reoccur.

Any samples testing positive for horsemeat contamination above the 1% reporting level set for the EU-wide study will be announced following laboratory confirmation.

Test results mid-2014

Action will be taken to withdraw any affected product from sale with test results submitted to the European Commission by July 2014.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that local authorities have been testing beef products for horsemeat since last year as part of sampling programmes.

The UK will collect and test 150 samples of beef products, including raw beef such as mince, burgers and sausages and cooked ready meals including canned products will be tested.

Samples will be taken by 24 local authorities across all UK countries from retail outlets, wholesale catering suppliers, and cold stores.

Testing will be done by local authorities and funded by the FSA. Industry has been testing beef products and submitting quarterly results to the agency.

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said it has increased the additional funding to support authenticity testing to £2m this year.

“We remain vigilant about the threats to our food supply from fraudsters and determined that we do not see a repeat of the problems that emerged last year.”

Wearne said lessons continue to be learnt from the incident.

“We asked Professor Pat Troop to review the FSA’s response to the horsemeat incident and are currently working on her recommendations to improve our intelligence gathering and review the way we respond to incidents,” he added.

“The government also asked Professor Chris Elliott to review the integrity of the UK food supply networks. Professor Elliott’s interim report is currently being discussed with interested parties and we await his final report.”

Court appearance for four men

Meanwhile, four men appeared in Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday facing charges in connection with the traceability of meat.

Peter Boddy, owner of a West Yorkshire slaughterhouse and game dealer, and David Moss, the manager, failed to comply with traceability requirements for horses slaughtered at their premises, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

They are charged with two counts of this offence between 1 July 2012 and 12 February 2013.

It is not being alleged that horsemeat was being passed off as another product.

Dafydd Raw-Rees, the owner and Food Business Operator of Farmbox Meats in Aberystwyth and Colin Patterson, the company representative, also appeared before the court.

It is alleged that on or about 12 February last year they mislabelled goat meat as lamb or mutton for the purposes of sale.

Unconditional bail was given to all the men will now appear at Southwark Crown Court on 28 April.

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