Horse meat-tainted food scandal continues to spread across UK

Horse meat-tainted food scandal continues to spread across UK
# 10 February 2013 01:01 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. As Britain’s food contamination continues to spread, the country’s food standard agency is calling on all major meat suppliers to conduct urgent tests on beef products, for the presence of horse meat, APA reports quoting Press TV.

A politically damaging affair first revealed last month; on January 16th Irish food safety authority said beef burgers with traces of horse DNA have been supplied to British supermarkets, as a result 10 million burgers were taken off the shelves.

On January 31st, fast food giant “Burger King” revealed that some of its products have been contaminated with horse meat.

On February 4th, production at the second Irish meat supplier was cut after more ingredients with up to 95 percent horse DNA were discovered and a second company was implicated the next day.

Then on Friday, February 8, the UK’s safety watchdog ordered all British companies to test their processed beef products after lasagna was found with 99 percent horse meat.

In Britain, there are real concerns that the veterinary product Phenylbutazone used for pain relief in horses could enter the food chain with potentially harmful side effects.

This comes as the British government has warned more British meals are expected to be found to be contaminated with horse meat within days.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said tests underway by food authorities were likely to find more evidence of horse, which has already been discovered in burgers and other ready meals.

The warning came after a summit between Paterson, retailers and suppliers called after the discovery that some Findus lasagna products were 100 percent horse.

Opposition Labour Party chief Ed Miliband has called on the coalition government to provide answers about how the horse meat scandal was allowed to happen in the UK food industry.

Paterson said investigations into how beef products had been contaminated with horse meat were ongoing but "the evidence so far suggests ... it's either criminal activity or gross negligence".

Tesco, Aldi and Findus have all had to withdraw food products. It also emerged on Friday that food served in schools and hospitals may contain horse meat.

The police were drawn into the scandal on Friday amid fears that criminals may be involved in supplying horse meat labelled as beef.