The world’s biggest food company Nestlé has been drawn into the deepening horse meat scandal, after it was forced to remove beef pasta products in France, Spain and Italy when they were revealed to contain horse DNA.
More than 1% of horse DNA was found in two products, only days after Nestlé bosses said the giant was unaffected by the horse meat crisis.
Nestlé apologised to its customers and pledged “actions [are] being taken to deal with this issue that will result in higher standards and enhanced traceablity”.
The firm issued a statement yesterday headlined ‘Supplier found to have mislabeled beef’. In the statement the Swiss-based multinational said: “There is no food safety issue, but the mislabeling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us.
‘Mislabelling of products’
“Therefore, we are voluntarily removing two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini from sale in Italy and Spain immediately, and we will replace them with product confirmed by DNA testing to be made from 100% beef.”
The firm also confirmed Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes − a frozen meat product for catering businesses from Nestlé Professional produced in France − will be withdrawn from sale and replaced with a product made from 100% beef.
Nestlé said horse DNA was found after it stepped up its testing of products and raw materials when reports first emerged in the UK about “the fraudulent mislabelling of beef”.
The firm said it was suspending deliveries of all finished products produced using beef supplied by a German firm, HJ Schypke, a subcontractor of one of its suppliers, JBS Toledo.
“We are also enhancing our existing comprehensive quality assurance programme by adding new tests on beef for horse DNA prior to production in Europe,” said the firm.
Nestle UK & Ireland confirmed yesterday (February 19) that its processed beef products sold in the two countries were unaffected by contamination.
The firm said it a statement that it had tested samples of seven Jenny Craig products and two Gerber baby food products. Internal tests “have confirmed no presence of horse DNA in any of these products”, it said.
The horse meat scandal emerged last month after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland discovered horse DNA in value frozen beef burgers produced in Ireland and the UK. The products were sold by Tesco, Aldi and others and lead to the withdrawal of 10M burgers.
The scandal has now affected 12 European countries.
Meanwhile, the French authorities lifted some controls on the meat processing firm Spanghero, based in south west France.
The French government had accused the firm of fraudulently mislabelling horse meat supplied from Romania as beef.
Spanghero has denied any wrong doing.
Meanwhile, Nestlé has revealed plans to recruit 400 manufacturing jobs at its coffee manufacturing plant at Tutbury, Derbyshire.
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