By Gerald Heneghan
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has demanded that the UK food industry carries out authenticity tests on all beef products as part of the ongoing investigation into horsemeat contamination.
Earlier in the week, the body found that Findus was the latest company to discover horsemeat in one of its beef products – marking the latest find in an investigation that previously uncovered tainted meat in several beef items at Tesco.
Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA claimed the organisation would now require a more “robust response” from the food industry in ensuring its meat products were labelled correctly.
“We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagne, and provide the results to the FSA. The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horse meat,” she said.
The FSA went on to warn that the deadline for submission of results is February 15th.
Findus withdrew its beef lasagne products after French supplier, Comigel, expressed concern about the kind of meat being used in the product.
“We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk. However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone,” the FSA said of the investigation.
Animals treated with the drug, also known as ‘bute’, are not permitted to enter the food chain due to potential risks to human health.
Findus is the latest company to uncover tainted meat in its products and the investigation has already seen similar discoveries in the produce of several companies, including Tesco, Asda, Lidl and Iceland.