MPs attack Govt over horsemeat

Ministers are facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat amid fears that beef products contaminated with horse meat could contain substances harmful to humans.

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Horsemeat scandal 'is a European problem'

Anne McIntosh, the chair of the Environment Select Committee has stated that the horsemeat scandal is a 'European problem'.

She said the committee was surprised how widespread the issue was, and that the Food Standards Agency needs to work closer with its European counterparts to solve the issue.

Ministers are now facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat.

Scale of contamination in food chain 'breathtaking'

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee chairman Anne McIntosh described the scale of the contamination in the food chain as "breathtaking" and warned that restoring consumer confidence would take time and money.

The Government has a role to secure the correct balance between affordable food prices and effective regulations that require transparency and quality.

The consumer cannot be left to face a Catch 22 where they can either pay for food that complies with the highest standards of traceability, labelling and testing or accept that they cannot trust the provenance and composition of the foods they eat.

Horsemeat scandal health fears

Ministers are facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat amid fears that beef products contaminated with horse meat could contain substances harmful to humans.

In a scathing report, the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee condemned the Government's "flat-footed" handling of the horse meat scandal, saying its ability to respond had been weakened by cuts to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The committee said the public appeared to have been "cynically and systematically duped" for financial gain by elements of the food industry - raising wider concerns about the safety of the contaminated products.

It seems improbable that individuals prepared to pass horse meat off as beef illegally are applying the high hygiene standards rightly required in the food production industry.

We recommend that the Government and FSA undertake a broader spectrum of testing for products found to have the highest levels of contamination ... to provide assurances that there is no other non-bovine DNA or any other substances that could be harmful to human health present.

Abattoir 'disturbed' and 'disappointed' by allegations

Speaking on behalf of the owner of Farmbox Meats in Wales, which is currently being investigated by the Food Standards Authority (FSA), solicitor Aled Owen said his client had been "disturbed" by allegations meat had been mis-labelled by the business.

He added that he and his client had also been "disappointed" by the way the matter had been commented upon by some politicians:

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Government has 'got a grip' on horse meat scandal

Asked whether David Cameron felt the Government had "got a grip" of the horsemeat issue, the Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters: "We have".

He added: "The Government, working with the FSA, is doing the right thing.

"He was referring to the process by which we have been putting in place, over the past few weeks since the first evidence was found of contamination, the appropriate measures."

Mr Cameron's assurance that there was "nothing unsafe" on supermarket shelves was based on "clear advice from the FSA and the Chief Medical Officer," said the spokesman.

Meat company 'dissatisfied' with FSA comments

A statement issued on behalf of Dafydd Raw Rees, of Farmbox Meats stressed the company denied any wrongdoing.

They have co-operated completely in the enquiry and provided all information when requested. The audit trail for the horse meat at the plant is clear - from the point of slaughter in Ireland, to the cutting at the company premises, to eventual delivery in Belgium.

The company confirms that all meat products can be accounted for and are from good, reputable sources. The company, whilst co-operating in this investigation, would wish to express its dissatisfaction with the comments made by the FSA which are untrue, according to our instructions, and should not have been made until these matters had been made subject to legal scrutiny.

The company officers and their families would like to thank friends and neighbours for their support at this difficult time.

– Aled Owen, Redkite law
  1. Wales

Owner of Welsh meat plant denies doing anything wrong

The owner of a Welsh meat processing plant which is being investigated for mislabelling horse as beef denies doing anything wrong.

Dafydd Raw-Rees, the owner of Farmbox Meats Ltd in Llandre, Aberystwyth, told ITV News:

I haven't done anything wrong. The authorities know the meat was going to be sent to Belgium. I haven't hidden anything.

– Dafydd Raw-Rees, the owner of Farmbox Meats Ltd

Mr Raw-Rees said that he has bought the beef from the abattoir in Yorkshire, which is also being investigated by the FSA.

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