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Horsemeat latest FSA tests still 99% negative

By Mike Stones , 22-Feb-2013
Last updated the 25-Feb-2013 at 10:43 GMT

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 99% of nearly 3,600 tests for the presence of horse DNA on processed meat products have proved negative.

The FSA’s second set of test results – designed to reveal the extent of horsemeat contamination of beef products – confirmed 35 results, representing 13 products, contained horse DNA at or above the 1% threshold.

These products have already been identified and withdrawn from sale.

The results released today (February 22) included the outcomes of 1,133 new tests − a range of manufacturers, retailers, caterers and wholesalers throughout the UK − conducted since the FSA’s initial report published on February 15.

A further six products have tested positive for horse DNA.

Phenylbutazone

So far, no tests on samples containing horse DNA contained the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone or bute, described by Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, as a “known carcinogen” .

FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said: “The overwhelming majority of results, over 99%, have come back negative for the presence of horse DNA above the threshold of 1% − which is reassuring for consumers.

“However, our work is far from done. The sampling programme being carried out by local authorities on behalf of the FSA is already well under way and we expect to report the initial findings from that work in early March.”

Brown said the agency was committed to “pursuing enforcement action” to ensure that those who were at fault take full responsibility for their actions.

“We are determined to get to the bottom of this to find out exactly what happened – and to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Brown.

The FSA noted food businesses continue to withdraw products due to trace contamination levels (of less than 1%), or on a precautionary basis. This covered cases where meat products had been produced by manufacturers which had supplied other products found to be contaminated with horse DNA.

‘Gross negligence or deliberate substitution’

The FSA said it was focusing on gross contamination of beef products with the substitution of horse meat, where there is more than 1% horse DNA detected in a product. “The agency believes that such levels of horse DNA indicate either gross negligence or deliberate substitution of one meat for another.”

Retailers have told the FSA they have completed about 90% of tests, while manufacturers, caterers and wholesalers reported completing about 80% of their tests.

These tests includes all the major suppliers to schools, hospitals and other public institutions.

The FSA has pledged to publish the result of more tests next Friday (March 1).

 

Products found to contain more than 1% horse DNA

  • Aldi …………………………….......Today's special frozen beef lasagne and Today's special frozen spaghetti
  • Bolognese
  • Asda ……………………………….. Chilled beef bolognese
  • Co-operative ………………….. Frozen: 4 beef quarter pounder burgers
  • Findus …………………………….. Findus beef lasagne (320g, 360g, 500g)
  • Rangeland ………………………. Range of catering burger products
  • Sodexo ……………………………. Beef burgers, minced beef, halal minced beef
  • Tesco ………………………………. Everyday value frozen burgers and Everyday value spaghetti bolognese
  • Whitbread Group ……………. Lasagne product, beef burger product
  • Makro ………………………………. Frozen MQ 100% Aberdeen angus beef burgers 12 6oz
  • The Burger Manufacturing  Company … Range of beef products.

Source: FSA

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03:43 pm 16 September 2014