The horse meat found in ‘horsemeat-heavy’ Tesco-brand burgers made up 30% of the burger. In the United States, the global retailer Tesco is known as Fresh & Easy brand, reports the Associated Press on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.
“U.K.-based Tesco PLC apologized for its horsemeat-heavy burger and said it was pulling Tesco-brand burgers from stores in Britain and Ireland as a precaution. The find is unwelcome news for the world's fourth-largest food retailer, known in the United States under its Fresh & Easy brand.”
The ‘horsemeat-heavy burger’ discovery was reported by an Irish food safety watchdog group who said on Tuesday that it had found traces of horse and pig DNA in burger products.
While horse meat made up 30 percent of the burger, the amount of pig meat in the burgers was lower.
“The Irish food safety watchdog says that it has found traces of horse DNA in burger products sold by some of the country's biggest supermarkets, including a burger sold by global retailer Tesco that authorities said was made of roughly 30 percent horse. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland also said Tuesday that it had found traces of pig DNA in 85 percent of the burger products it tested in Irish supermarkets, including those operated by U.K-based Iceland and German discounter Lidl.”
In addition to Lidl, other German discount supermarkets include Aldi and supermarket giant Spar.
Irish supermarkets include those operated by British frozen food specialist Iceland. “Irish stores, including Dunnes — the country's largest domestically owned supermarket chain — also carried beef with horse or pig DNA.”
According to Ireland's Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, one single meat processor in Northern Ireland is responsible for the horsemeat find. Simon Coveney said that “an imported additive used to make the burger appears to have been packed with horsemeat.” The additive was most likely mislabeled or somebody made some reckless mistake. In either case, Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney considered the situation to be “totally unacceptable.”
Ireland’s agricultural minister emphasized that veterinarians have been sent out to meat processors and other factories to take more tests.
In the meantime, as one would expect, Tesco has apologized for its horsemeat-heavy burger and is recalling all Tesco-brand burgers from stores in Britain and Ireland. “We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news, and we apologize sincerely for any distress."
As Tuesday’s story is developing, it is not quite clear yet what other global retailers in addition to Tesco might have horsemeat-heavy burgers.
“Meat exports are big business in Ireland”, said opposition politician Eamon O Cuiv. He also warned that the news "could have a damaging effect on the Irish agriculture sector if not dealt with quickly and comprehensively."
So far many news reports focus mainly on the UK, Ireland, and Germany as some of the countries affected by the horsemeat-heavy burgers. With the globalization of not only the internet but also burgers, one has to wonder how many other countries will have horse meat found in their burgers.
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