Traces of horse DNA have been discovered in a beef burgers sold in supermarkets across the UK. A Tesco burger was found to be 29% horsemeat
A list of the beef burgers, sold in UK supermarkets, that were found to contain traces of horsemeat.
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Jonny Blair reports:
Waitrose has become the latest supermarket to pull beef burgers from its selves after horsemeat was found in burgers made by one their suppliers.
The company said it had taken frozen burgers made by Dalepak, one of the firms at the centre of the horsemeat contamination investigation, off sale "as a precaution" when it had its accreditation suspended.
In a statement, Waitrose said its burgers had since been tested and were found to be 100% beef:
"The ingredients in our burgers are simple with all meat traceable back to British farms that we know."
"Our technical team visited the Dalepak site last week and were happy that our products were produced to our high specification and separately from other companies' products (ours are produced at 6am before other any other burgers)."
A major food factory owned by one of Europe's biggest suppliers and processors has been shut in Ireland after horse DNA was found in frozen burgers in new tests two days ago.
ABP Food Group said the suspension of all production at the Silvercrest Foods plant in Co Monaghan was the "responsible course of action".
The firm said that, following new results from the Irish Department of Agriculture, it believes the source of the contaminated material is one supplier.
Public service trade union Unison said the presence of horse DNA in beef burgers should have been picked up by British authorities, but Government cuts to food trading and meat hygiene services mean vital safety checks are being limited.
The union said the scandal demonstrated the industry was not fit to self-regulate and criticised the "dramatic falls in levels of activity" across the food safety industry, including:
- 29% drop in new prosecutions
- 265 fall in total number of schedule inspections
- 24% fall in total number of visits for enforcement purposes
- The Brand is Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers - priced £1 for eight.
- They have a best before date of Oct 2013 and plant number IE 565 EC.
- Tesco tell us they do not know how many were sold or how long the problem has been going on.
– Food Standards Agency statement
The Food Standards Agency is investigating urgently how a number of beef products on sale in the UK and Republic of Ireland came to contain some traces of horse and pig DNA.
Tim Smith, group technical director of Tesco has apologised to customers after beef burgers sold at the supermarket were found to contain horse meat.
He said that there is no way to know until investigations have been completed how this could have happened. He added "there are only two ways that this could happen, one of them involves illegality by suppliers or the suppliers of those suppliers or gross negligence."
Tesco has apologised to customers after horse meat was found in some of their frozen beef burgers.
Dalepak at Leeming Bar near Northallerton is one of three food factories at the centre of the investigation by the Irish Food Safety Authority.
– Tim Smith, Group Technical Director Tesco
Today we were informed that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has found that a number of beef products they have recently tested contained horse DNA. These included two frozen beef burger products sold by Tesco in both the UK and Ireland. Products sold at other retailers were also discovered to contain horse DNA.
"We immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question. We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.
– Tim Smith, Group Technical Director Tesco
The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards.
"The relevant authorities have said that these findings pose no risk to public health. We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news, and we apologise sincerely for any distress. Our customer service team is standing by to answer any questions customers may have.