FSA finds meat containing 80% horse DNA at Freeza Meats

FSA finds meat containing 80% horse DNA at Freeza Meats

The UK's Food Standards Agency has said it will publish the results of tests for horse meat DNA to be carried out on beef burgers sold at UK retailers.

In mid-January, frozen beef burgers on sale at a number of retailers in the UK and Ireland, including Tesco, Iceland, Aldi, The Co-operative Group and Lidl, were found to contain horse DNA.

The news caused the UK's multiples to pull products from suppliers linked to the scandal from the shelves. Dalepak and APB Food's Silvercrest site were implicated and have since been delisted by Tesco, Aldi and the Co-op.

The food safety watchdog said it hopes to maintain consumer confidence in the accuracy of food labels by publishing new tests to be carried out.

"I am pleased that we have been able to agree a way forward to maintain consumer confidence in the food that people eat. We need to move swiftly to get this work under way to reassure consumers," Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA, said.

A spokesperson for the FSA told just-food today (5 February) the new tests would be "across the board" and funded by the FSA.

"All samples will use the same tests, with the same sensitivity... and be carried out by independent laboratories," the spokesperson added.

In a separate announcement, the FSA said it has found a "quantity" of frozen meat that contains 80% horse meat. The agency said the meat was "detailed in a cold store" belonging to a company called Freeza Meats in Northern Ireland. This company, the FSA said, is "potentially" linked to Silvercrest.

The FSA declined to provide further details on the connection between the two firms. The agency also refused to comment on whether Freeza Meats supplies any other food manufacturers or what meat product or ingredient had tested positive for horse DNA.

Silvercrest owner APB issued a statement emphasising that it does not own Freeza Meats.

"The ABP Food Group wishes to make clear that Freeza Meats, the company named in yesterday's Food Standards Agency statement, is not part of ABP Newry or any part of the ABP Food Group," the company said.