Aldi finds horsemeat in meals
Findus recalled its frozen beef lasagne from sale in Britain on Wednesday after its French supplier Comigel said its products did not conform to specification. Photograph: PA Wire
Two ready meal ranges sold by Aldi have been found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat, the supermarket chain confirmed tonight.
The company said it felt “angry and let down” by its French supplier Comigel, which also produced the contaminated Findus beef lasagnes.
Tests on Today’s Special frozen beef lasagne and Today’s Special frozen spaghetti bolognese found they contained between 30 per cent and 100 per cent horse meat, Aldi said.
The announcement comes after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland confirmed Findus beef lasagne products, also made by Comigel and identified in the UK as containing up to 100 per cent horse meat, have been on sale in Ireland.
The product is being tested in Britain to see if it contains a type of horse medicine that is banned from entering the food chain.
Findus recalled the lasagne from sale in Britain on Wednesday after its French supplier of convenience foods Comigel said its products did not conform to specification.
Tesco withdrew its frozen Everyday Value spaghetti bolognese because it was produced at the same site as the Findus beef lasagne.
In a statement today, the FSAI said it was in contact with Findus since last night to establish which retailers had been supplied the product. It said Tesco withdrew the affected product from Irish shelves on Wednesday, but did not notify the FSAI. It said it is contacting the retail trade today to ensure this product is withdrawn from sale.
“The FSAI is advising Irish consumers to check if they have purchased this product and if they have, not to eat it, but to return it to the point of purchase,” the authority said.
FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said it is unknown if these products pose a food safety risk, as tests have not been undertaken in the UK to establish if the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone is present in the product. “It is our understanding that Findus is testing the products for the presence of phenylbutazone. Phenylbutazone is a commonly used medicine in horses and horses treated with it are not allowed to enter the food chain,” he said. “Our advice to consumers at this point, is not to consume this product, but to dispose of it or return it to their retailer.”
Consumers who have queries regarding the affected product can contact the FSAI advice line on 1890 336677 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
Meanwhile, Findus Sweden said today it has recalled 20,000 packets of frozen "beef lasagne" after tests showed they contained horsemeat. It said had purchased frozen lasagnes from a Comigel factory in Luxembourg. "The results from an analysis of the lasagne which we bought has come back positive for horsemeat," Henrik Nyberg, a director at Findus Sweden "Our lab has shown that the lasagne may contain between 60 to 100 per cent horsemeat.”
British Labour Party MP Tom Watson claimed today Findus’s beef lasagne may have been contaminated with horsemeat since last summer. Mr Watson said he had obtained a letter from the company to retailers warning that a French-based supplier told it on February 2nd that raw materials delivered to it since August 1st last year were “likely to be non-conform and consequently the labelling on finished products is incorrect”.
The letter, which Mr Watson said was sent to retailers on Monday, added: “The supplier has asked us to withdraw the raw material batches.”
The UK Food Standards Agency has given food makers a week to test all their beef products. The agency also said it involved the police in the UK and Europe as evidence of horse meat in burgers and lasagne "points to either gross negligence or deliberate contamination in the food chain", according to a statement on its website today.
A Findus spokesman added that the firm “do not believe this is a food safety issue” but that anyone who had bought 320g, 360g or 500g Findus beef lasagne packs could call its customer care line on 0800 132584 for advice and a refund.