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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Lawyer: Farmbox Meats 'cooperating' with investigation

A solicitor representing Farmbox Meats, the Welsh processing firm which is being investigated for allegedly mislabelling horse as beef, has released a statement saying:

They [Farmbox Meats] have cooperated completely in the inquiry 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 would wish to express its dissatisfaction with the comments made by the FSA [Food Standards Agency] which are untrue.

– Aled Owen

Scientist: Ban on 'desinewed meat' caused problems

A senior scientist claims a sudden EU ban on "desinewed meat" led suppliers to search for cheaper sources of beef.

Dr Mark Woolfe, formerly of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), told The Times (£) that the FSA gave just two days notice when desinewed beef and lamb - where a fine mince is produced by mechanically rubbing the fleshy remains off the bones - was banned from being called meat.

"I don't think people realised the significance of it on the food chain," Dr Woolfe said. "A lot of suppliers were not able to find alternative sources of cheap meat and that is when things started to go wrong".

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Frozen food supplier responds to Waitrose comments

Freshlink Foods, which supplies Waitrose with frozen products, said it has carried out 450 DNA tests during the last two and a half years and all the results were negative for "non-declared species".

"Freshlink will share all results directly with the FSA [Food Standards Agency] as part of their investigations," owner the ABP Food Group said.

'Not enough' experts to test suspect meat

The president of the Association of Public Analysts, which represents the scientists carrying out tests on suspect meat, said funding cuts meant there are not enough experts to do the job.

"We don't really have enough people to do the job. Unfortunately the public analysts service has deteriorated over the last few years due to closing laboratories and reduced numbers of public analysts," Liz Moran told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I don't think there are sufficient resources," she added.

PM: Horsemeat scandal an 'appalling situation'

Prime Minister David Cameron has called the horsemeat scandal an "appalling situation", stressing that if criminal activity has taken place "there should be the full intervention of the law".

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the House of Commons. Credit: ITV News

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron said an enhanced testing regime not only found contamination, but discovered that in some instances horsemeat had been passed off as beef.

He called the discovery "completely unacceptable".

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  1. Lewis Vaughan Jones: ITV News Reporter

Yorkshire slaughterhouse remains closed after raid

The slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, is still closed this morning after the Food Standards Agency's investigation last night.

The slaughterhouse in Todmorden pictured this morning. Credit: ITV News/ Lewis Vaughan Jones

There is no sign of the owner. Someone from the farm told me earlier that all comments will be to the authorities from now on.

The slaughterhouse was one of two meat plants raided by the Food Standards Agency yesterday. Credit: ITV News/ Lewis Vaughan Jones

Waitrose emails customers after pork found in beef meatballs

Waitrose Managing Director Mark Price wrote:

We have now done tests on 40 of our meat products. No horsemeat was found in any of these tests.

We did, however, discover that in two batches of our essential Waitrose frozen British beef meatballs (480g), some of the meatballs may contain some pork.

Although the meatballs are safe to eat, pork is not listed as an ingredient and should not be part of the recipe.

Like me, I'm sure nothing is more important to you than the safety, quality and taste of the food you give your family and that is why I wanted to write to you directly in this way.

Meat plant raids 'an important development'

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has described the recent raids on two meat plants as "an important development".

He said in a written ministerial statement:

As I told the House yesterday, it is totally unacceptable if any business in the UK is found to be defrauding the public by passing off horsemeat as beef.

The FSA [Food Standards Agency] will continue to work closely with the police and if there is any evidence of criminal activity, I will expect the full force of the law to be brought down on anyone involved.

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