UK confirms positive horse DNA tests

The horse meat scandal, which erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horsemeat, has since spread across Europe. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

The horse meat scandal, which erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horsemeat, has since spread across Europe. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

Britain's food regulator said it had found another 35 positive tests for horse meat in beef products, confirming the latest contaminations in a scandal still spreading across Europe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said today it had conducted 3,634 tests, 3,599 of which had come back negative for horse meat levels above 1 per cent, with 35 results testing positive for horse meat at or above 1 per cent.

It said these products had already been named and withdrawn from sale and added that no tests to date on samples containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine
phenylbutazone (bute).

The scandal, which erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horse meat, has since spread across Europe, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the continent's complex food-processing chains.

The UK's FSA said last week that it had found 29 samples of horse meat in the food chain in tests carried out on samples demanded from UK retailers, and has since announced plans for a wider testing of meat products.

The regulator has asked the industry to test for horse down to a level of 1 per cent as some laboratories can only test accurately to that level. It also believes any level above that would not be accidental.

It will give a further update on test results next Friday.