Blog: Dean BestThe spectre of horsemeat returns to the UK

Dean Best | 1 November 2013

It hasn't disappeared. Horsemeat has again been found in products on sale in the UK, according to the country's Food Standards Agency.

Tins of sliced beef on sale at UK discounters Home Bargains and Quality Save have been found to contain horse DNA, the FSA said yesterday (31 October).

The beef was made in Romania in January, the agency said. The 320g packs, described on the label as 'Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy', has been removed from sale.

The affected products were identified after "routine testing" by officials in Lincolnshire, the FSA said. The level of horse DNA was put at between one and five per cent.

TJ Morris Ltd, the company behind the Home Bargains chain, said it was "disappointed" with the presence of horsemeat in a product on sale at all its 280 stores.

A spokesperson said: "The FSA's findings relate to just one batch of the product, which was produced in January 2013 – before horsemeat was found in a number of UK products. We have since had other batches of the same product tested, which were found to contain no traces of horsemeat.

"We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that our quality control is of the highest standard and extremely thorough. We are already liaising with this supplier to ensure that an even more robust process is in place moving forward."

TJ Morris supplies Quality Save's, which has 21 outlets in the north west and Yorkshire. Quality Save director Ric Rudkin told just-food: "We echo TJ Morris' comments. We are working closely with them to ensure they have the procedures in place to prevent a repeat of this."

Nick Martin, senior vice president at European software company Trace One, which works with retailers and manufacturers in areas including food safety, said contamination is an issue the industry continuously has to battle.

"This latest news from the FSA of horsemeat being discovered in canned beef from a Romanian manufacturer shows the effect of the horsemeat scandal is ongoing and wider reaching than originally anticipated," Martin said.

"While Home Bargains and Quality Save stores have acted swiftly, ensuring that all relevant goods are removed from the shelves, contamination of food products is an issue that retailers and their suppliers will never be free from. The reality is that retailers cannot monitor every possible ingredient at every stage of its journey. In order to ensure the sanctity of the products on their shelves retailers must be able to undertake fast, comprehensive recalls of goods that may have been affected, thereby safeguarding their reputation and limiting consumer damage."

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