The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have come under fire from a consumer watchdog for keeping back the names of retailers believed to be selling chicken carrying a food poisoning bug.
Which? called for sellers to be named and shamed after the FSA found almost three fifths of fresh shop-bought chickens had the bug campylobacter.
The food poisoning bug was found in 59% of the birds tested by the FSA and identified outside of the packaging in a further 4% of the samples.
The survey will test 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The new results are for the first quarter and represent 853 samples.
The FSA said that previous studies carried out into the prevalence of the bug had also shown around two thirds of raw poultry carries it.
City watchdog the Financial Services Authority has confirmed it has written to all banks asking them to review their treatment of small businesses.
A report by Dr Lawrence Tomlinson, published earlier this week, slammed the "heavy-handed profiteering and abhorrent behaviour" of the banks towards small businesses.
The FSA confirmed it was asking banks to confirm "they are satisfied they do not engage in any of the poor practices alleged" in the report.
Holland has recalled 50,000 tonnes of meat sold as beef across Europe that may contain horsemeat, according to the Associated Press.
It is still not clear if investigators from the Food Standards Agency have visited some cutting plants where horsemeat is highly suspected of being stored, Labour's shadow environment secretary has said.
Mary Creagh said the Government needs to be clearer about how its own investigations into the scandal are progressing with different criminal gangs operating across Europe.
The Food Standards Agency has said it will continue testing products "until there's nothing left to find" after the veterinary painkilling drug phenylbutazone - or bute - was found in Asda Smart Price Corned Beef.
The agency's director of operations Andrew Rhodes said customers should not eat the corned beef but added anyone who does is very unlikely to fall ill.
He advised customers to return the product to the supermarket to receive a full refund.
It is deeply worrying that bute, a drug banned from the human food chain, has been discovered in one brand of corned beef.
This product was withdrawn from sale on March 8 yet has only been formally recalled now, after testing positive for bute, meaning people could have unwittingly been eating meat containing this drug for the last month.
This exposes the weaknesses in the Government's handling of the horsemeat scandal where products were withdrawn but in some cases not tested either for horsemeat or bute. The interests of the consumer should have been put first.
Asda has recalled a corned beef product after small traces of a painkilling drug known as 'bute' were detected.Read the full story ›
Asda said its announcement that traces of 'bute' have been found in one of its products is part of its commitment to keep customers up-to-date on its product testing regime.
The supermarket says its has carried out "more than 700" tests since news of the horsemeat scandal broke. A statement released today said:
In March 2013 we withdrew tinned Smart Price Corned Beef (340g) after receiving a positive test for horse DNA above the 1% trace level set by the Food Standards Agency.
Today ... tests on further batches have shown a positive result for very low levels of horse medication called phenylbutazone, also known as bute, at 4 parts per billion.
The FSA has reassured us that the quantities we’ve found pose a low risk to human health ...
Consumers have a right to expect that food is exactly what it says on the label.
While bute presents very low risk to human health, the Food Standards Agency is investigating this specific horsemeat contamination case and will take action as necessary.
These are the facts that are known about the traces of 'bute' found in an Asda product:
- Traces found in 340g tins of Asda Smart Price Corned Beef
- Amount of bute found is very small - around four parts per billion
- Customers urged not to eat the product and to return it for a full refund in store
- Even if people have eaten the product, the health risk is "very low"
- The product was withdrawn from shelves on March 8th after testing positive for horse DNA over 1%. It was then tested for 'bute' in line with FSA guidelines.
- Asda has withdrawn all corned beef products from its Smart Price range.