Horsemeat mislabelled as ‘diced beef’ sold in Lancashire

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lancashire, Food standards agency

Horsemeat was sold as ‘diced beef’ on a Preston market stall
Horsemeat was sold as ‘diced beef’ on a Preston market stall
About 30kg of horsemeat mislabelled as “diced beef” has been sold by a market stall in Preston and a Hungarian Food shop in Sheffield.

The meat was part of a 100kg consignment imported from Hungary, which was discovered by Lancashire County Council last week (March 22).

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council told the meat, sold in 1kg bags, was labelled as “diced beef”.

The meat was sold by Hungarian Food’s market stall in Preston and the Liverpool shop Taste of Hungary.

Veterinary drug phenylbutazone 

Lancashire County Council is testing the meat for the presence of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone  –  also known as bute.

Paul Noone, assistant director for Lancashire Trading Standards, said: “We found this product in the course of inspections being carried out as part of the Food Standards Agency ​[FSA] investigation.

“The company cooperated fully to provide the details to help us trace the origin of the meat and have removed the product from stock. Of the 100kg imported, 70kg was still in stock and we're now working with the FSA to trace back through the supply chain.”

Noone added that the council was “very concerned​” to learn that horsemeat has been sold as beef in Lancashire. “We will now test the sample for bute, and continue to work with the FSA to complete the investigation into this sample and consider any further action which may be appropriate,he said.

Entirely horsemeat

The meat – which proved to be entirely horsemeat – was taken from the Preston stall on February 14. Test results confirming its equine origin were received on March 20 and the FSA was notified immediately.

The manager of the Taste of Hungary shop Attila Fabian told BBC News the horsemeat was indistinguishable from beef. “It tasted like beef, it looked like beef. I was shocked today when environmental health told what happened exactly,”​ he said.

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service said it had inspected an extra 150 premises as part of the FSA investigation.

The FSA has notified by the Hungarian authorities and the European Commission.

Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary, described the discovery as “worrying”. ​She said the find showed “the horsemeat scandal has spread from supermarkets and schools through to market stalls”​.

The FSA has said it had tested more than 6,000 meat samples for horse DNA over the past six weeks.

The agency has set the threshold for meat contamination at or above 1% of the total test sample.

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