Minister forced to wait until April for horsemeat tests

Environment secretary Owen Paterson said his Romanian counterpart was convinced meat had been packed and correctly labelled when it left the country.

But Mr Paterson added: "The fact is, we do not know yet, and we need to get absolutely clear where the problem has occurred and get it sorted."

When he was asked why UK local authorities could not get tests on meat going to schools and hospitals tested before April, he said: "There is a limit across Europe and across the world in laboratory capacity. We would all like these tests to be done as fast as possible."