Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said the Government is powerless to impose a ban on meat imports unless beef contaminated with horse meat is found to be a health risk.
The government dismissed calls for a ban on importing meat from the European Union as the horsemeat scandal spread across the continent.
He added that farmers need better policies that help them invest, to support the produce of British meat, so that we know where the food we eat is coming from.
A leading food scientist says the rule change that sparked the horsemeat beef scandal affected lamb products too, and they should be tested.
Retailers and the Food Standards Agency held an emergency meeting today to decide how to proceed with the horsemeat scandal.
The government has called an emergency meeting with retailers and the Food Standards Agency to discuss the horsemeat scandal.