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Cold Store Tests Find More Horse DNA in Frozen Meat Products

06 February 2013

UK - The UK's Food Standards Agency has found more traces of horse meat in frozen meat products in a cold store in Northern Ireland.

As part of its ongoing investigation into mislabelled meat, the FSA tested a quantity of frozen meat detained in a cold store on the premises of a company called Freeza Meats in Northern Ireland, which is potentially linked to the Silvercrest factory in the Republic of Ireland.

Silvercrest was the supplier of beef burgers that contained horse DNA, identified in a survey carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Of the 12 samples from the suspect consignment that have been tested, two of the samples came back positive for horse meat, at around 80 per cent.

The investigation into the traceability of these raw materials and their source is under way.

The FSA said that as the meat was detained, it has not entered the food chain.

The FSA has also agreed with the food industry to publish the results of industry testing of meat products, to provide a clearer picture of standards in the food chain. The results will also be made publicly available.

The decision was taken at a meeting to address how testing can maintain consumer confidence in the accuracy of food labelling, attended by Food and Farming Minister David Heath, representatives of the FSA, and major food businesses and suppliers.

Catherine Brown, Chief Executive of the FSA, said: "I am pleased that we have been able to agree a way forward to maintain consumer confidence in the food that people eat. We need to move swiftly to get this work under way to reassure consumers.

Food and Farming Minister David Heath said: "This is a shared problem, and it needs shared solutions. Food businesses' agreement to give regular updates on meat testing is a significant move that will give consumers confidence in what they're buying. It's now important that the industry starts sharing this information as soon as possible."

The FSA and the food industry will now agree a standardised sampling and testing system which will meet accredited standards and test to an agreed level of DNA.

In the Irish Republic, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said the has received a test result confirming 75 per cent equine DNA in a raw material ingredient at Rangeland Foods, Co Monaghan.

The Department has been conducting further enquiries to establish whether Polish labelled product has been used in other meat processing plants in Ireland following the results at Silvercrest. These enquiries remain ongoing.

Rangeland Foods notified the Department of its use of Polish meat ingredients in the manufacture of certain burger lines last week due to the suspicion of the presence of equine DNA.

The Department took samples of the material concerned from the plant to test for the presence of equine DNA and received results today. In this case the raw material was imported through a meat trader based in Ireland.

Production has been suspended at Rangeland Foods pending the outcome of the investigation. The company has indicated that none of this product has entered the food chain. The Department has had inspectors in the plant since last Friday.

The investigation is focusing on the full supply chain including the meat trader concerned and others who facilitated the purchase of the product and its transfer to users in Ireland.

The Department is in continuing contact with the Polish authorities as the investigation has shown that all implicated raw material ingredient is labelled as Polish product.

Arising from the latest findings, added to the facts uncovered in the investigation at Silvercrest and enquiries north of the border, the Minister has ordered the involvement of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Department.

He has also asked the Gardai to join the investigation team.

Further Reading

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TheCattleSite News Desk


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