A report from the Republic of Ireland’s Food Safety Authority (FSAI) has confirmed that horse DNA has been found in some beef burgers being sold in UK and Irish supermarkets.
The FSAI said the meat originated from three processing plants, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire. The burgers were on sale in Tesco and Iceland stores in the UK, and in Dunnes Stores, Lidl, and Aldi in Ireland. The chief executive of the FSAI, Professor Alan Reilly, said that although there was no health risk to eating horsemeat: “In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger.”
The offending supermarkets have now confirmed that they have identified all implicated batches of the burgers and are in the process of removing them.
The FSAI carried out tests on a total of 27 products, and reported that 10 of them contained the horse DNA whilst 23 contained pig DNA. And in one separate sample provided by Tesco, a whopping 29% of the meat content was identified as horsemeat.
Alongside the horsemeat findings, the FSAI confirmed that in 31 beef meal products, which included items such as cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, 21 tested positive for pig DNA.
Professor Reilly, said: “Whilst, there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process,” Professor Reilly added: “Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable.”
Tesco’s group technical director, Tim Smith, released a statement which said that his company was informed of the test results by the FSAI on Tuesday and they “immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question”. The FSAI reported that Tesco had 2 frozen beef burger products, both sold in the UK and Ireland that were found to contain horse DNA.
In a statement, Mr Smith said: “The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious.” He added that Tesco was “working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again”.
“We will not take any products from this site until the conclusion and satisfactory resolution of an investigation,” the statement said.
Iceland also released a statement which commented that it had: “withdrawn from sale the two Iceland brand quarter pounder burger lines implicated in the study”. The company noted the findings “with concern” and “would be working closely with its suppliers to investigate this issue and to ensure that all Iceland brand products meet the high standards of quality and integrity that we specify and which our customers are entitled to expect”.
Aldi said only one of its products – which is only on sale in the Republic of Ireland – was affected. In a statement, Aldi Stores (Ireland) said: “Following notification this afternoon from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) of an issue in relation to our Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 pack) we have immediately removed the product from sale and have launched an investigation into the matter.”
The company said it “takes the quality of all its products extremely seriously and demands the highest standards from its suppliers”.
Source: BBC News