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Environment Secretary: Retailers 'responsible for content'

The Environment Secretary has issued a statement after holding an emergency meeting with bosses from leading supermarkets and the Food Standards Agency to discuss the scandal surrounding horsemeat. Owen Paterson said:

It’s totally unacceptable that customers have been buying products labelled beef, but which turn out to be horse.

People should have absolute confidence in what they are buying. The responsibility for that lies with the retailers, who need to be absolutely sure that what they’re selling is what they think it is.

We agreed that more and tougher testing will take place. I asked them to agree to publish test results every three months through the Food Standards Agency. I made it very clear that there needs to be openness and transparency in the system for the benefit of consumers.

– Owen Paterson, Environment Secretary

Environment Secretary: Horsemeat 'conspiracy against public'

Horsemeat being sold to the public as beef is "fraud" and a "conspiracy against the public", the Environment Secretary said today.

Secretary of State for Environment, Owen Paterson says other tests may be done. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Asked if there were any plans to test for traces of other meats, such as dog, Owen Paterson said:

"It may be very isolated, it might be a small number of suppliers involved in the horse trade we don't know, but I think that as we progress and we'll know more over the course of the next few weeks, we can decide what to do next".

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Minister fears 'more bad results' on horsemeat scandal

Environment secretary Owen Paterson told the BBC there could be "more bad results" on the horsemeat scandal when further products are tested in the next few days.

Tests have been ordered on all processed beef products with Mr Paterson saying he hoped they would bring "meaningful results." The test results are due on Friday.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Findus 'not invited' to horsemeat crisis talks

Findus has said that it was not invited to today's meeting with environment secretary Owen Paterson at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about the horsemeat crisis.

Defra said that four of the 14 groups and retailers invited to horsemeat summit did not turn up.

They were M&S, Waitrose, Lidl and the Chilled Food Association.

Waitrose 'extremely confident' over products

Waitrose said they were not attending today's horsemeat summit but added they were "confident" about their products:

We won't be at today's meeting as Mark Price our MD is out of the country.

In any event we are extremely confident about our meat and our products and are happy to respond to the FSA's testing requests

– Waitrose statement
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