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Horsemeat Found in UK Beef Products

January 17, 2013

2 Min Read
Horsemeat Found in UK Beef Products

DUBLIN, IrelandIn late November 2012, horse DNA was found in beef products sold at Tesco. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) conducted three rounds of tests to verify the presence of horse DNA, and on January 15 released its findings.

According to an FSAI press release: A total of 27 beef burger products were analyzed with 10 of the 27 products (37%) testing positive for horse DNA and 23 (85%) testing positive for pig DNA. In addition, 31 beef meal products (cottage pie, beef curry pie, lasagne, etc) were analyzed of which 21 were positive for pig DNA and all were negative for horse DNA. All 19 salami products analyzed tested negative for horse DNA. Traces of horse DNA were also detected in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from The Netherlands and Spain."

The beef products testing positive for equine meat were produced by Liffey Meats and SIlvercrest Foods, both in Ireland, and Dalepak Hambleton in the UK. The products were sold at the following retailers: Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland. These retailers have cleared their shelves of implicated beef products, and Tesco has apologized via full-page advertisements in UK newspapers.

Although nine of the 10 beef burger samples revealed low levels of horse DNA, one sample from Tesco contained 29% horse meat.

For those who may have consumed the implicated products, Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive FSAI, maintains they pose no public health risk, saying: : The products we have identified as containing horse DNA and/or pig DNA do not pose any food safety risk and consumers should not be worried. Consumers who have purchased any of the implicated products can return them to their retailer."
That is not to say it's not a stomach-churning thought to have eaten horse meat. In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger," Reilly says. "Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable. We are working with the meat processing plants and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine to find out how horse DNA could have found its way into these products."
Click here to see the Table of Results of Burgers Analyzed.

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