About a month ago, routine tests by Irish authorities discovered horsemeat in beef burgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain that were sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer.
On Wednesday last, the UK’s Daily Star reported officials with Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) raided two UK meat plants amid fears that old racehorses, and even pet ponies, may have been used in fast food restaurants across Britain as kebabs and beefburgers.
Catherine Brown, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, said other meats such as pork and chicken would also have to be tested for cross-contamination.
“It is not lost on retailers that they need to test significantly across this product range, across wider meat-based product ranges. It is no good just knowing they are doing it – they need to make it available to us.”
Brown added that retailers are currently focusing on “comminuted” beef, meat balls, spaghetti, and beef burgers, but the industry suspects the wider food chain.
“There have been reports of chicken being secretly injected with waste from the beef and pork production process to inflate chicken breasts to fetch a higher price.”
This week, Reuters reported Swiss supermarket chain Coop has found horsemeat in its own-brand lasagne, which has the same French supplier, Comigel, at the heart of the scandal in Britain.
The British unit of global frozen food brand Findus recalled its beef lasagne last week on advice from Comigel, after tests showed concentrations of horsemeat ranging from 60 to 100 percent.
Findus, which sells 17 products in retail outlets in South Africa, has defended its products following the discovery of horsemeat in its frozen lasagnas.
Robert Powell, 40, was sick for 11 days in the hospital after eating dozens of the Findus beef lasagnes meals — some of which were 100 per cent horse meat. Doctors found an infection in his liver and spine usually caught from horses.
Horse Drug May Have Entered Human Food Chain
Yesterday, the British government said three horse carcasses that tested positive for the equine drug bute may have entered the human food chain in France.
Now officials across Europe are testing thousands of meat products for the drug.
Yesterday, The Huffington Post advised that French authorities claim a French wholesaler is at the heart of the growing horse-meat scandal in Europe.
UK police announced the arrests of three men on suspicion of fraud at two meat plants inspected earlier this week by the country’s Food Standards Agency.
And Europol, the European Union police agency, “is coordinating a broad continent-wide fraud investigation amid allegations of an international criminal conspiracy to substitute horse for more expensive beef.”
The consumer affairs minister in France said that in the most prominent case fraudulent meat sales had been going on for several months, and reached across 13 countries and 28 companies.
February 15th, 2013