Four beef products sold by Birds Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA in the latest round of tests following the horsemeat scandal, the Food Standards Agency has said.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said less than one percent of beef products tested for horsemeat had come back positive:
“The vast majority of test results from food retailers, wholesalers, and caterers are now in. The results continue to show that over 99 per cent of processed beef products are what they say they are on the label.
The food industry and Food Standards Agency have moved very quickly to complete over 5000 tests in a very short space of time. Industry testing will continue and results will be published on a quarterly basis.
Investigations into cases where horsemeat has – unacceptably – been discovered will continue, and anyone found guilty of criminal activity should expect to face the consequences.
It is important that consumer trust in the food industry is rebuilt.
Brakes, the supplier for the House of Commons Catering Service, said horsemeat had been found in a lasagne manufactured by its subsidiary division Creative Foods.
It said it had also "segregated" a frozen burger as a precaution, in addition to withdrawing a minced beef skewer that was found to contain horsemeat:
Our tests confirmed one positive equine DNA finding at between 1% and 10% on a Brakes spicy minced beef skewer and one positive test reported by a customer of our subsidiary division Creative Foods on a lasagne manufactured exclusively for them.
Brakes have also segregated a frozen burger as a precaution after equine DNA at 1% was reported to the Food Standards Agency.
US-owned Tex-Mex restaurant chain Taco Bell apologised to customers after horsemeat was discovered during tests it carried out on beef supplied to its UK restaurants:
We immediately withdrew ground beef from sale in our restaurants, discontinued purchase of that meat, and contacted the Food Standards Agency with this information.
We would like to apologise to all of our customers, and we can reassure you that we are working hard to ensure that every precaution is being undertaken to guarantee that we are only supplied with products that meet the high standards we demand.
Four beef products sold by Birds Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA in the latest round of tests following the horsemeat scandal, the Food Standards Agency said today.
There have been no new positive results on processed minced beef being contaminated, the British Retail Consortium said today.
Retailers said they have conducted 1889 tests between January 20 and February 28, with 361 negative tests carried out in the last week.
All tests on processed minced beef products have been completed.
The UK's major supermarkets, and a number of other BRC-member food businesses, have now tested all existing processed minced beef products.
The reassuring news is that another intensive week of testing has produced no new positive results. And, since this testing programme started in mid-January, just a third of one per cent of products have tested positive.
But our members won't accept anything less than 100 per cent compliance. We are working with the rest of the supply chain and with Government to prevent any incidents in the future.
– British Retail Consortium Food Director Andrew Opie