The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that, after testing of beef products, horse meat DNA has been discovered in products sold by catering vendor Brakes, Birds Eye and Taco Bell. The tests confirmed contamination of Birds Eye beef lasagne and Birds Eye traditional spaghetti bolognese. The same is true of Taco Bell’s ground beef and Brakes’ spicy minced beef skewer.
The percentage of horsemeat in these four products was over 1 percent horsemeat. Ten tests were performed on these products, and since the results have been made public, all four have been removed from sale.
Birds Eye had previously been found with contamination in its chili con carne which tested at over 2 percent horse DNA.
The Taco Bell restaurant chain said in a statement, “Taco Bell is disappointed to have discovered the horse meat in tests. We immediately withdrew ground beef from sale in our restaurants, discontinued purchase of that meat, and contacted the Food Standards Agency with this information. We would like to apologize to all of our customers, and we can reassure you that we are working hard to ensure that every precaution is being undertaken to guarantee that we are only supplied with products that meet the high standards we demand.
Birds Eye has pulled the spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and shepherd’s pie from sale. A statement published by Birds Eye noted, “No other Birds Eye products have tested positive for horse DNA, nor do they share the same supply chains as Frigilunch NV. Going forward we are introducing a new ongoing DNA testing program that will ensure no minced beef meat product can leave our facilities without first having been cleared by DNA testing."
Brakes supplies the House of Commons Catering Service. It has withdrawn its steak and kidney pie, beef and onion pie, steak and kidney suet pudding, and beef Italian meatballs as a precautionary measure. It is introducing new tests after the discovery of horse meat. Brakes stated, "Our testing program represents a significant proportion of all results the FSA has obtained from across the food industry. Our tests also confirmed one positive equine DNA finding at between 1% and 10% on a Brakes spicy minced beef skewer and one positive test reported by a customer of our subsidiary division Creative Foods. Brakes and Creative Foods are very disappointed to have been let down by our respective suppliers and have sincerely apologized to our customers.”
To give some perspective of the impact the horse meat scandal has made, the first wave of tests found horse meat in Aldi's beef lasagne and spaghetti bolognese, in Co-op quarter-pounder burgers, in Findus beef lasagne, in Rangeland's catering burger products, and in Tesco Value frozen burgers and Value spaghetti bolognese.
The second wave found horse meat contamination in Asda's chilled beef bolognese sauce and several other products, in Whitbread Group lasagne and beefburgers, and in minced beef sold by Sodexo to schools, care homes and the armed forces.
As might be expected, frozen hamburger sales have plunged since the horse meat scandal has been expanding across Europe per Kantar Worldpanel, a consumer research firm.
Source: Huffington Post UK