Horse meat in recalled lasagne

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 00:00

The controversy over horse meat in beef products looks set to spread throughout Europe with the confirmation by the British Food Standards Agency that the meat content of beef lasagne recalled by Findus on Wednesday contained up to 100 per cent horse meat.

Last night the Food Standards Agency chief executive Catherine Brown said the agency was demanding that all UK food businesses test their beef products for the presence of significant levels of horse meat and provide the results to the FSA by next Friday week.

Findus withdrew the beef lasagne products after its French supplier of convenience foods Comigel said its products did not conform to specification. Another Comigel customer Aldi also withdrew its Today’s Special frozen beef lasagne and Today’s Special frozen spaghetti bolognese after receiving the same advice.

Tesco withdrew its frozen Everyday Value spaghetti bolognese because it was produced at the same site as the Findus beef lasagne.

The Food Standards Agency said it had no evidence to suggest that this was a food safety risk.

“However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or bute. Animals treated with bute are not allowed to enter the food chain.”

This was sparked by the publication last month of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland study which found 29 per cent horse meat relative to beef in a Tesco burger produced by the Silvercrest Foods plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan. Production remains suspended.

Resumed production

Meanwhile, burger producer Rangeland Foods in Castleblayney resumed production yesterday after suspending production on Monday when horse meat was found in a consignment of Polish beef product at the plant. Rangeland Foods chief executive Jim Lucey said his company had been the victim of fraud.

McAdam Foods, which supplied beef product to Rangeland and Silvercrest, said it was confident the documentation it had provided to the authorities would fully exonerate the company. It said it had received Polish product from a UK meat trader.

The UK trader has not responded to media queries.