The horsemeat controversy surrounding beef based products on sale in Britain does not look like dying down anytime soon, as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced that they had discovered numerous Findus products that contained equine ingredients!
In fact, some of the Findus beef lasagne products that were recalled by the company earlier in the week were found to be 100% horsemeat!!
On Monday, Findus withdrew the beef lasagne portion sizes 320g, 360g and 500g as a precaution. They tested 18 beef lasagne products that were made for Findus by French food supplier Comigel and found 11 meals that contained between 60% and 100% horsemeat.
People who have the product in their freezers have been advised NOT TO EAT IT and to return it to the shop that they purchased it from!
The FSA said there was “no evidence” that suggested there was a food safety risk, but they did order the well-known frozen food company to test the product for traces of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or ‘bute’ as animals treated with this drug are prohibited from entering the food chain because it can be harmful to human health.
Supermarket chains Aldi and Tesco also recalled certain beef products after concerns were raised about Comigel. The French supplier informed the supermarkets and Findus that their products did “not conform to specification.”
Aldi were advised to take Today’s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese off the shelves. Tesco decided to withdraw Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese because it was prepared at the same site as the contaminated products, however they have since stated that the product contained no evidence of horsemeat.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said that the findings were “completely unacceptable” and that unauthorized ingredients “cannot be tolerated”. The FSA has said that companies will now be required to test their beef products.
Catherine Brown, FSA Chief Executive said;
“In order to get to the bottom of this, we’re going to be requiring every company to test every product line…If we find any other cases, we will pursue our investigations vigorously until we find out what’s happened and put a stop to it.”
Brown believes that it is “highly likely” that criminal activity is the reason horsemeat is being discovered masquerading as beef in certain meals.
Paterson said that the government would be working together with businesses in a bid to “root out any illegal activity” and make sure FSA regulations were enforced.
Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said that this latest shock disclosure raised numerous questions about how far-reaching this scandal was. She said; “This is no longer just a food safety issue but possibly a criminal trade.”