In Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers, horse meat accounted for approximately 29 per cent of the meat. The supermarket announced last night that it was removing all frozen burgers from sale immediately regardless if they had been found to contain horse meat.
Tim Smith, the group technical director of Tesco, said: “The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards.”
An investigation was carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The Food Standards Agency, working with the Irish authorities, established that mainland Britain was part of the area affected.
More than a third (37 per cent) of the products tested in Ireland contained horse DNA, while the vast majority (85 per cent) also contained pig DNA…Horse meat and pig DNA was found in 27 beef burger products. Another 31 foods, including cottage pies, beef curry pies and lasagnes, were analysed, with 21 testing positive for pig DNA.
Traces of horse DNA were also detected in batches of raw ingredients…
The beef burgers containing horse DNA were produced by two processing plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and one plant in the UK, Dalepak Hambleton in North Yorkshire. They were on sale in Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland.
Prof Alan Reilly, the chief executive of the FSAI, said: “While 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 plants, there is no clear explanation for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat…”
“We are aware that investigations are ongoing to ascertain how or why horse meat was used in the products.”
Har. We know all the rationales, excuses. They will be trotted out at various press conferences. Press releases by corporate hacks will be widely quoted by TV talking heads.
They will be sufficient and acceptable. After all, this didn’t originate anywhere East of London. It must be accidental.