Horsemeat: Schools And Hospitals To Be Tested
Meals in schools and hospitals will be tested for horsemeat as part of a nationwide probe into processed beef products, the Environment Secretary has told Sky News.
Speaking ahead of an emergency summit with food producers, supermarkets and health officials, Owen Paterson, when asked if it was likely that school and hospital meals contained horsemeat, said: "We will be testing those as well, alongside products in retailers."
The Government has been unable to guarantee that state-provided food does not contain horsemeat.
The talks came as the retailer Aldi confirmed some of its ready meals contained 100% horsemeat, while Findus has admitted that it knew its products were affected more than a week ago.
Mr Paterson told Sky News that horsemeat in food labelled as beef-products was "completely, totally unacceptable".
He said he was "determined to get to the bottom" of the matter and to see if "it is gross incompetence or a serious criminal conspiracy".
The Environment Secretary added that "retailers are ultimately responsible for what they sell".
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also attended the meeting on Saturday. It has ordered all British retailers and processors to test all their processed beef products to make sure they are what they say they are within a week.
Mr Paterson said they would examine how the existing system works and how horsemeat got into the food network at the summit.
Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh told Sky News Labour hoped the meeting would produce "some clarity from Government about what consumers should be doing and whether the Government's testing regime was going to work".
She added that, according to the food industry, the testing regime put in place by ministers was "completely unworkable".
With only six laboratories in the UK that can do the necessary DNA tests, testing hundreds of product lines in every supermarket would not be possible, she warned.
Meanwhile, the Aldi supermarket chain has confirmed that two of its ready meal ranges produced by Comigel, the French supplier also used by Findus, were found to contain between 30% and 100% horse meat.
The dishes affected are Today's Special frozen beef lasagne and Today's Special frozen spaghetti Bolognese.
The company said it felt "angry and let down" by Comigel and that anyone who had bought the affected products was entitled to a full refund.
Comigel, the company at the centre of the latest scare, whose headquarters are based in Luxembourg, has told the AFP news agency that the horsemeat originated in a Romanian abattoir.
The meat was supplied to Comigel by a meat-processing company called Spanghero, based in southwestern France.
The scandal has spread across continental Europe, with Findus withdrawing various frozen meals from both France and Sweden.
Swedish firm Findus has also pledged to sue an unidentified party over the matter, saying it was "deceived".
Speaking from Luxembourg, Sky News Home Affairs Correspondent Mark White said authorities now faced a "complex and very difficult investigative process" to trace the contaminated meat.
He said authorities had acknowledged that the meat may have come from more than one source.
"The French and the Luxembourg authorities say they have traced the contaminated meat to a supplier in France, but it's not as simple as that.
"They say there are multiple other suppliers into this French company and tracing them back to the source is proving much more problematic."
Politicians and food safety experts have played down the risk to human health, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying it was not about food safety, but about accurate food labelling.
He said the industry would have to work hard to restore consumer confidence.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Tom Watson has published a letter on his website which he claims was sent by Findus to retailers on Monday, warning that a France-based supplier had told it there may be problems with raw materials delivered since August 1 last year.
In it, the firm claimed raw materials delivered to a French contractor since August 1 were "likely to be non-conform and consequently the labelling on finished products is incorrect".
The letter added: "The supplier has asked us to withdraw the raw material batches."
Responding to the claims, Findus said they did not know about problems back in August and that they first suspected an issue on January 22, when they ordered the initial tests.
The product recall was ordered on February 2 after further tests had been conducted.
In a statement the company said they were only made aware of a possible August 2012 date through a letter dated February 2 this year, by which time it was "already conducting a full supply chain traceability review and had pro-actively initiated DNA testing".
Findus said it had not been invited to the Government summit but they were aware that the Food and Drink Federation, of which they are a member, was attending.
what do you think?
They burn our lamb now they try to poison is with their horse meat .... Those pesky French!
To doug piercy: 3 letters for you: BSE. Does that ring a bell? If not, here's a clue for you: "mad cow's disease". That was an epidemic that spread from contaminated BRITISH beef and actually KILLED people ALL OVER THE WORLD after years of protracted pain OK, that was in the 1990's but the rest of the world will remember that............
I dont know how other people are feeling at the mo but everytime i cook something now im wondering ",exactly what am i eating here". I made sausage stew yesterday for everybody and found meself questioning the sausages.
We've always questioned the sausages, Shaun! Please! No horse meat in my fav brains fag.tsLol!
My pork pie won the 3.30 at Cheltenham!
Shaun. I love sausages but the one thing I would never do is to send them for analysis. Ignorance is bliss
I think we have always known what goes into sausages - let's hope it's only BEEF tes*icles and eyeballs, eh?! Tee hee!
Why are we so slow to ACT in this country COULD IT BE THE THREE DAY WEEKERS , so slow to act as the Monday lot dont know what the Thursday lot are doing so everything reverts back to the week before. Bring Back the British in B.T (for Pride and Respect AGAIN) before its to late or am I naive its already gone, Do IT!!!!
Yes its wrong that its horse meat when we pay and expect it to be beef like it says. But saying its contaminated as if poisoned is ridiculous and over the top. Its not going to do any harm to anyone. As an horse lover i would be fuming if i found id eaten this but it annoys me that everyone keeps acting like its going to kill them. And i suppose you get what you pay for Im afraid.
We don't know the affects of consuming drugs the horses are given. That's why they are banned from the food chain.
You do not seem to understand the implications. Legitimate meat sources use livestock which have 'passports' which can certify that it is safe to eat. If medications have been used for example it could be consumed and affect humans so that is what the fuss is about.
Well surely if that was the case then they wouldn't be allowed to put horse meat in human food anyway to start with? Or even bother having horse abotouirs if the meat may have drugs in ?
Yeah what Richard said. Like all animals who enter the food chain (allegedly) there should be passports which detail any medications etc. I'd also like to add if you pay for something that says beef then it should be beef. If I buy something labelled water, I expect water, if I buy a supermarket brand I don't expect guinea pig wee cause I paid less...
Whilst I accept the arguments concerning the drugs with which horses may be injected the type of meat is not the issue. It is the fact that it said beef on the packet and that was not what was inside.Buy a tin of red paint and when you got home find it contained green paint. Would you be happy because it's paint anyway. I think not
I think it's a mix of all things really. It's not the meat it claims to be. We have a right to choose if we want to eat it or not. It may or may not contain harmful chemicals. It may be being fed to our sick and our children. The whole thing has spiralled really. And its jut getting worse daily since the whole scandal broke.
Horse meat was famous in BELGIUM in the WW2 They eat prime meat now while the UK eat horse mince "they wont know any differance " Wakey Wakey MINISTER" CHECKS MOVE.
The French will get away with it. They always do. As with everything in the EU, they dictate and demand but never follow the rules if they do not benefit from them.
Hang on this is meant to be a democratic country....I love horsemeat so why should I suffer because of the few !
I dont think it is the few.your the few i beleive.
Move to France then
Ian. You won't. Go to a horsemeat butcher and buy horsemeat but you have every right to complain if they give you beef instead
Hear hear, I love horse meat as well. Any idea where you can buy it in this backwards country? By the way, have you heard that they are going to destroy all this perfectly good food. This is a bigger crime than using horse meat in the first place. What about all those starving millions around the world, including this country. I'm sure some of the people that are having to rely on charity to get a meal would welcome this perfectly good food.
You're not suffering. If you buy meat packaged as beef, then I would suggest you don't feel disappointed if it doesn't contain horse. Why not just buy horse, then? I don't see your point at all. If you bought a bag of potatoes to make roasties and found it to contain only carrots, would you be equally pleased? Bizarre.
It's the SOURCE of the horse meat, that's the problem....does it contain drugs the horse may have needed? Etc.....by all means, crack on and eat it.....make sure it's safe, though! ;-)
What's the problem, you would think horses are more expensive then cows anyway. 2 places I would never buy meet from aldi or lidl. Stick to m&s and waitrose and you will be fine.
Ali. I used to think that as I was always wary the meat products on sale in these discount shops. But Findus & Tesco are big name national companies so that tends to defeat that argument. It doesn't always follow that to pay more equals better quality
Dave u would never have this at waitrose or m&s. But you also right in the context that paying more does not always mean better standards and quality.
Ali. Time will tell my friend. I would expect it to be at least a better quality horsemeat at M&S
For years the big chains have been striving for market dominance in everything to do with our food. Quality local butchers have been driven to the wall in their thousands as supermarkets have brainwashed uthe entire country into accepting boxed and frozen rubbish as standard fare. Many people flagged up warnings but were berated for being snobs and regaled with tales of "no time to cook properly" or "can't afford the butcher's meat". Well, now we have it all in the open for everyone to see. But still we have people who just don't get it and who bleet on about how horse meat won't kill you. I think I will pass on the Ketamine, thank you. Also, why do we need to source meat from abroad when so many of our farmers are going out of business? As a nation we need to wise up!
What if you happened to be allergic to horses it could litrally kill someone.or any of the drugs the meat contained.
Shaun. That is yet to come. Something labelled as nut free won't be and someone will die of an allergic reaction
Very good point, cause I have allergy to horses, but that's more to do with the outer body of a horse. I wonder if it would include the meat. Time to get my lawyer.
what is the problem??? I love horse meat and the only reason it doesnt seel here is because of the 'cute' thing. Cows are cuter than horses but we still eat them. Get over urselves all u horse lovers.
So eat horse and don't eat cow.... No ones saying you can't! Most of us are just annoyed we are being decived into eating it. And that it may not even be approved meat.
Agree, angharad, Marc has missed the whole point!
I'm having Mr brains fag*ots for dinner. Hope they don't contain any horse brains.
dont say that, i love them. we.l be wondering all the time now wont we whats in stuff.
Nooo... They are Mr. Brain's brains! Yum! Enjoy!
Ohh my favourite, is brains fag*tts! :-)
There is a bonus to all this eating horse meat ,we did do well in the Olympics with record number of gold medals:)))
I've eaten dog and python in Borneo and Malaya, kangaroo, emu and alligator in Australia, horse meat in France and Belgium and, I believe cat from a Chinese take-a-way in Essex. I like horse meat more than beef but, can someone please tell me what all the fuss is about and why do they keep talking about contamination with the horse meat that's being found in these pre cooked meals? If you want to make sure you know what you're eating, don't be so bloody lazy, cook it yourselves.
Does anyone know where I can buy horse meat in this country?
Sigh. If you'd read the news article and most of our comments you'd see. Horses get a lot of vaccinations for various reasons. When horse meat is safe to eat it has a passport that lists any vaccinations and whether they are safe to enter the food chain. They can't be sure if the meat used was safe. We do not know the affects of these chemicals when consumed. I don't buy these frozen ready meals personally but I do feel the people that do should be told if equine has been used in a product. I don't think that's an unfair ask? It's great you have such a varied diet and I'm sorry most of us are boring and want a cow when something is labeled cow. Google horse meat butchers. Google knows all.
Read the news and comments ian.than wouldnt sound like a stuck record player.
Ok, horse meat won't kill you( unless the horse is still alive, then there's always a chance), it's not about that, the uproar is more about not being given the choice, yes I have tried many meats around the world, but if I buy a beef lasagne I expect it to be beef, What I find more worrying was the traces of pork in halal dishes, it's against there religion, not just a food choice, we may never really know how this has happened
One animal that we could eat would be grey squirrel and for conservation reasons.but could us brits get around the ahhhhh its cute bit.currently if you accidently trap a squirrel you got to kill it by law.so isnt this a waste.so should we eat squirrel.? I d be intetested in your answers.
No....too cute! Lol! Could quite happily do without meat altogether! Lol!
Why eat squirrel, presumably as a substitute for beef? There isn't a shortage of beef.
Now we know why the patient was in a stable condition.
Damn.....I am beginning to wonder what is in my ' Kitten and Puppy Pasty ' I was going to have for lunch today !
why does aldi and tesco buy abroad, bring the food industry back to this country and give our own people work to generate us back to the great country we were
I have suspected this for quite some time now. Does anyone know if Pukka Pies are affected as in the past I enjoyed their Beef and onion and Steak and kidney pies but over the past months the taste, texture and cuts of the beef/steak are questionable.