The boss of Tesco has unveiled measures to avoid another horsemeat scandal, including buying more British meat and conducting its own tests.
The horsemeat scandal has taken a bite out of the processed meat market according to the latest supermarket sales data.
As Birds Eye remove three products as a precautionary measure, a look at previous products removed from sale after horsemeat tests.
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.
– Owen Paterson MP
It is important that consumer trust in the food industry is rebuilt.
Birds Eye has stressed that only one its products - a chilli con carne dish it sold in Belgium - has been found to contain horsemeat.
The company has also withdrawn spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and shepherd's pie meals made by the same Belgian manufacturer, Frigilunch NV, as a precaution.
"No other Birds Eye products have tested positive for horse DNA, nor do they share the same supply chains as Frigilunch NV," Birds Eye said in a statement.
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:
– Brakes statement
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:
– Taco Bell statement
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.
The third round of tests carried out since January revealed contamination of the following products:
- Birds Eye Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese
- Birds Eye Beef Lasagne
- Taco Bell's ground beef
- Brakes' spicy minced beef skewer
Ten tests on the four products returned results of more than 1% horsemeat, the agency said, and all four have been withdrawn from sale.
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.
– British Retail Consortium Food Director Andrew Opie
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.
The National Farmers' Union said today that supermarkets only have themselves to blame for the horsemeat scandal - for putting price pressure on suppliers.
Farmers now think they have an opportunity to negotiate new deals with the supermarkets.
ITV News Special Correspondent Rageh Omaar reports:
Supermarkets must sell more British products that consumers want and stop scouring the world for the cheapest food they can find, the National Farmers' Union (NFU) demanded in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
NFU president Peter Kendall said there was "real shock" that consumers have been deceived over what was actually in the meat they had bought.
Speaking at the NFU's annual conference today, Mr Kendall called on retailers to back British farmers and growers.
"We now need supermarkets to stop scouring the world for the cheapest products they can find and start sourcing high quality, traceable product from farmers here at home", he said, adding, "It's not as if it's nuts and bolts, pots and pans or mobile phones - this is our food".
Tesco has emailed its customers to announce its "new commitments" amid the horsemeat scandal.
The email from CEO Philip Clarke states, "Today I make you a promise. Tesco is going to bring the food we sell closer to home. We're going to make how we source our food simpler, more transparent and shorter, and we will build better relationships with our nation's farmers".
Mr Clarke announced all fresh chickens sold in Tesco will come from UK farms from July and that the retailer will move "over time" to ensure all its chicken products - fresh and frozen - will come from British suppliers.
"Everyone in the food industry has a big job ahead to win back your trust. But I am determined to lead the way, by changing the way Tesco sources food for the better", he states.
The email also links to a newly launched Tesco Food News website which he says will "keep you informed on our progress".
"Over time, it will allow you to see where the food you are eating comes from, how it was produced and who produced it", he adds.