Irish tests find no more cases of equine DNA
There was encouraging news for Irish food producers embroiled in the horse meat scandal yesterday with the latest round of DNA tests published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland showing no new cases of contaminated beef.
Separate tests on products from one of the first Irish companies implicated in the horse meat scandal also were given the all-clear.
The FSAI published its first set of results of industry tests on beef products, beef ingredients and other ingredients for the presence of horse meat.
All told, 957 tests were carried out by the food industry at the request of the authority. In results published yesterday, 928 samples were found to be negative while 29 samples in seven products were found to contain horse meat. All the positive results had already been identified, the FSAI said, and the affected products have already been withdrawn.
The products which tested positive were; Rangeland burgers (up to 30 per cent); Findus Beef Lasagne (60+ per cent); Birds Eye Beef Lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese (up to 10 per cent); Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese (up to 60 per cent); Aldi’s Today’s Special Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Beef Bolognese (30-60 per cent); and Ikea’s beef meatballs (amount to be confirmed).
In addition to the industry survey, the European Commission has directed each member state to put official control plans in place for sampling and testing for the presence of horse DNA in foods marketed and labelled as containing beef. As part of this, the FSAI said it plans to conduct a series of tests on such foods.
The FSAI said 50 samples of beef products will be taken by the inspectorate.
The European Commission has also requested at least one sample from every 50 tonnes of horse meat be tested for phenylbutazone, commonly used by vets as a painkilling anti-inflammatory for horses, which can be harmful to humans.
Meanwhile, Greencore has said fresh tests on a beef bolognese sauce which it supplied to Asda have established that no equine DNA was present.
Three weeks ago, the British retailer announced tests of the meat-based sauce had revealed it was made with just under 5 per cent equine DNA, but yesterday Greencore said that multiple further tests on the same batch of product were carried out at two separate laboratories and they all showed no equine DNA.
Greencore welcomed the news, adding that Asda was “reassured by the outcomes of this comprehensive testing”.
Tests for horse meat were also carried out at the Bristol factory which made the bolognese sauce and at ABP’s factory in Nenagh which provided the meat. All were negative, according to Greencore.