Horse meat - The latest developments

Horse meat mislabelled as diced beef sold in UK

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Horse meat, Meat, Food standards agency

Lasagne is one product that horse meat has been found in
Lasagne is one product that horse meat has been found in
Forty kilograms of horse meat labelled as diced beef has been sold in Preston and Liverpool, according to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The agency said it was told by Lancashire County Council that it has identified 100kg of horse meat imported from Hungary labelled as beef.

Meat was imported by Hungarian Food in Preston and investigations showed that 40kg was sold through Hungarian Food’s own market stall in Preston, and through a shop in Liverpool called Taste of Hungary.

The remaining meat, which was sold in 1kg bags, has been withdrawn from sale, said the FSA.

FSA said it notified the European Commission and the Hungarian authorities and the meat is now being tested for the veterinary drug bute.

Conditional approval

The agency also said last week that it had granted conditional approval to the Aberystwyth meat plant that had its approval suspended during the horse meat investigations.

Farmbox Meats Llandre, had its licence suspension in February as part of the investigation into the mislabelling of meat products.

The conditional approval expires on 5 April and a decision will be taken as to whether the plant should be granted full approval to operate, said the FSA.

Second set of FSAI results

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published the second set of results of industry tests for the presence of horse meat today (Monday) relating to the period 2-25 March.   

Only three samples, representing two products, out of 1,228 tests carried out by industry, were found to be positive for the presence of horse meat. 

The testing was carried out on beef meat ingredients and final beef products which were taken from suppliers, caterers, processors, manufacturers and retailers, said the FSAI.  

The total number of positives which returned a presence of horse meat greater than 1% were in Tesco Simple Roast Meatloaf (between 3.1% and 5.2%) and Oak Farm Cottage Pie (350g) (between 1-5%).

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was used to test 45% of the samples and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for 55%.

Greece involvement

The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) reported products such as chicken nuggets and schnitzel were found to contain horse meat at levels varying from less than 1% to more than 50%.

The products were produced by the T&T Foods company for the Choutos Catering firm and also from IFANTIS and P. G. NIKAS AVEE, said the authority.

EFET said it had requested the immediate recall/withdrawal of the products from the internal market.

Further testing has revealed eight results issued by the General Chemical State Laboratory have tested negative for phenlybutazone (bute).  

Europe-wide issue

The EU’s RASFF portal reports that chilled ravioli stuffed with meat was withdrawn from the market in Italy and Switzerland as it contained >1 horse DNA.

Frozen beef was detained from Poland destined for the Netherlands as it returned results of between 10-60% horse DNA.

Meanwhile, Axfood has been cleared to donate around five tons of its stuffed lasagna found to contain horse meat to a local church.

The Swedish National Food Administration (NFA) said the products could be given to the church provided they are removed from the packaging and the correct list of ingredients are available where the products are distributed.

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