Agriculture minister David Heath told the Commons the Food Standards Agency checks all meat to ensure it is fit for human consumption, following claims by Wakefield MP, Mary Creagh that carcinogens may have made their way into the food chain through contaminated horse meat.
Where positive results of phenylbutazone are found the FSA investigates and takes follow-up action to trace the meat.
A drug with the potential to cause cancer in humans might have entered the food chain through horse meat slaughtered in UK abattoirs, Labour has claimed.
Shadow environment secretary and Wakefield MP Mary Creagh told the Commons she had evidence that "several" horses slaughtered in the UK last year tested positive for the carcinogen phenylbutazone.
It's after a Dalepak factory in North Yorkshire was implicated in the horse meat in beefburgers scandal last week. Bosses at the ABP foods plant in Leeming bar insisted only a trace amount was found in their products.
Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey has announced that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee will be examining the contamination of beef products sold in UK supermarkets later this month.
Following the discovery of equine and porcine DNA in a number of supermarket beef products, the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee will hold a public evidence session on contamination of beef products on Wednesday 30 January. The session is intended to focus on the effectiveness of traceability, labelling and hygiene standards in the food supply chain and the role of government, food processors and retailers.
Brindon Addy is the Chairman of the Q Guild Butchers organisation, which represents top independent butchers. He says the pressure to drive down prices could be to blame for Horse meat getting into Beefburgers.
This is the meat processing plant in North Yorkshire which is at the centre of a food safety probe after beefburgers supplied to leading supermarkets were found to contain horsemeat.
Products from the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Northallerton and two other facilities in Ireland were investigated by a food safety watchdog. The burgers were on sale at Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores, but it is not known which plant supplied the contaminated meat.
Following the withdrawal of its Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 Pack) in the Republic of Ireland yesterday, Aldi has made the decision to withdraw three products from sale in the UK as a "purely precautionary measure" whilst it conducts further investigations.
Aldi would like to stress that there is no risk to food safety, and the product tested by the FSAI, Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 Pack) is not on sale in Aldi UK stores. Any customers who wish to return the products in question will receive an immediate refund. No other Aldi products are affected by this issue.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has identified porcine and equine DNA at trace levels in two consignments of burgers produced at the Dalepak production facility at Hambleton in Yorkshire. The FSAI stress that there is no food safety issue with these burgers. A spokesman for Dalepak said:
Following tests carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, we have been alerted to two batches of frozen beef burgers which have been potentially contaminated with traces of pork and equine DNA measured at less than 0.1% of the meat content. Dalepak are co-operating fully with the Competent Authorities and have launched a full-scale investigation.
Consumers will be rightly concerned by this news. People should be able to go into the supermarket and be confident that what that they are buying for their families is legal and safe. There are serious questions for the Government to answer about what happened and why it wasn't detected by British food safety authorities. Shoppers wanting reassurance should look for the Red Tractor mark which guarantees quality British standards.
This is a wake up call for the Government and retailers that rolling back regulation that protects our food serves no-one and is against consumer interest. This retailers affected must now work to reassure all shoppers about where their meat comes from.
– Mary Creagh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,