24 Feb 2013

More products withdrawn in horsemeat scandal

7:06 am on 24 February 2013

Food company Birds Eye has withdrawn three beef ready meals from supermarkets in the UK and Ireland as a precaution after horse DNA was found in a product in Belgium.

Birds Eye said its chilli con carne had tested positive for 2% horse DNA.

Although the chilli meal was sld only in Belgium the company said it would withdraw all other products made by the supplier - Belgian group Frigilunch.

Meanwhile, Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced results from 1,133 new tests on beef products.

In this second phase of the FSA's investigation, six positive tests were recorded for horse DNA at a level of greater than 1% - all on products which have been withdrawn.

The 140 samples of beef-based ready meals were checked for horse or pig DNA.

The FSA has now carried out a total of 3,634 tests. It said more than 99% had come back negative.

However, 35 results, representing 13 products, contained 1% or more horse DNA and most had been previously identified and withdrawn from shelves.

The producer of some of the meals, French catering giant Sodexo, supplies food to schools and colleges, hospitals and via meals on wheels, as well as running four prisons.

In Scotland, councils have been told not to use any frozen beef products following the discovery of horse DNA in a burger at Cumbernauld High School in North Lanarkshire.

In Wales, the Local Government Association said testing for horsemeat would be "ratcheted up" after food supplied to seven councils tested positive.

The discovery of horsemeat in processed beef products was first made in Ireland in Janary. Since then a growing number of stores and companies across Europe have recalled beef ready meals.