Horsemeat Scandal An 'International Conspiracy'
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has told Sky News an "international conspiracy" could be at the centre of the horsemeat scandal, as he warned that further cases of contaminated meat may be revealed within days.
Mr Paterson said the next set of results on all retailers' and manufacturers' processed beef products could show more traces of horsemeat.
"There may well be more bad results coming through, that's the point of doing this random analysis," Mr Paterson said.
The results, ordered by the Food Standards Agency, are due on Friday.
Mr Paterson held an emergency meeting with food producers, leading supermarkets and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in central London on Saturday.
He said it had been agreed that there would be "a very rapid analysis of current products", with results by the end of next week, to understand "the extent of this problem which is either caused by gross incompetence or what I suspect is actually an international criminal conspiracy".
"If there's a criminal act we will work with the authorities wherever they are to ensure the appropriate measures are taken," he said.
The talks came as frozen food company Findus UK said it is considering legal action against its suppliers after tests found up to 100% horsemeat in some of its beef lasagnes.
"Findus is taking legal advice about the grounds for pursuing a case against its suppliers, regarding what they believe is their suppliers' failure to meet contractual obligations about product integrity," the statement said.
"The early results from Findus UK's internal investigation strongly suggests that the horsemeat contamination in Beef Lasagne was not accidental."
Enterprising eBay users have already taken to auctioning the firm's beef lasgnes, with one receiving bids of £12 - with proceeds apparently going towards Help The Heroes charity.
Mr Paterson also warned that the scandal "could go deeper than we thought".
Substituting horse for beef was "fraud on the British public" and "people should buy what is on the label," he said.
The Environment Secretary said that retailers held the "ultimate responsibility" for making sure that horsemeat was not in their products and that they would have to start doing their own testing.
Scotland Yard met with representatives from the FSA on Friday night over the scandal.
During the talks on Saturday morning the supermarkets had agreed to work with the FSA to report their test results on a quarterly basis.
Bosses from leading supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons attended the meeting at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Findus was not invited to the Government summit but the Food and Drink Federation, of which they are a member, attended.
Earlier, Findus reiterated its apology for the scandal, but it came under fire from opposition leader Ed Miliband amid reports the company knew some days before it withdrew its lasagnes from sale that they were likely to contain horsemeat.
Mr Miliband told Sky News: "The head of the company needs to come to Britain and explain himself and who knew what when.
"Many customers were innocently buying Findus products when it appears that the company may have known it was likely to be contaminated by horsemeat."
Findus has strongly denied other reports saying it knew about the problems as early as last August, saying that they first suspected an issue on January 22, when they ordered the initial tests.
The presence of equine DNA was confirmed on January 29 and a product recall was ordered on February 2 after further tests had been conducted.
Aldi meanwhile 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% horsemeat.
what do you think?
OMG we can all remember the fuss these European countries kicked up when we had problems with our beef. So we expect them to come clean me thinks there is more to this than meets the eye and they knew what was going on.
I would agree Heather and I would not be surprised if supermarkets knew cheap meat and still charge customers more
Windows Live User
I knew it !! Agincourt still hurts
d and d Phillips
I'm more concerned about why Halal meat has somehow found its way into British Supermakets. Take a look at the process of cattle slaughter on Youtube and ask yourself if this is acceptable.
Yes I agree with your comments with regard to the slaughter process. May I ask if you are a vegetarian?
d and d Phillips
No, I'm not Robert but I am concerned at the process by which animals are killed, and neither do I not want to eat food that has been 'magicked' by Muslim prayers.
Exactly d and d Phillips why should meat with dark rites b sold on our shelfs
It's not just meat either. If you look on any Kelloggs cereal box you will find the halal symbol. I don't buy any of their products now.
Maybe your right about the method of killing, but at least your assured you get 100% beef or lamb when you buy halal products.i would rather buy a product without having to worry what's in it then worrying how it was killed.
Actually the conditions these animals are in during religious slaughter is better than the majority of abbattoirs across the land. If you're against animal slaughter, why on Earth do you eat meat? What about laboratory testing on animals?
Ah bigotry and slander knows no bounds
Prescribed medication for horses should be the actual concern, especially now horse meat has entered the food chain.
I've got a friend who's a veggie, he's always said the meat industry is rich and powerful and want to keep it that way. He always said they would sell you sh*t with sugar on it if they could. Looks like he's almost right Veggie is not for me though and that quorn mince tastes like cat litter, oohh McDonald's and the kebab house will still be on my menu.
Well, I'm a veggie, but I draw the line at Quorn. It's basically soil mould, with a few vitamins and minerals thrown in.
I;m veggie and use Quorn but like anything you've got to season it cos on it's own it doesn't have much taste. I love it.
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Well one thing ive learnt recently and that is what horse tastes like.and thats A LOT LIKE BEEF!!¡!.
This caused by companies buying their neat cheap from Europe where there's no control - all for extra profits instead of buying our own meat
McDonalds must be alright then.As I passed a McDonalds today they were still queuing up to get a burger.
How many MEPs have interests in the European meat industry? Vote YOUR MEP out and let's have transparency in Europe. Come on the British Media ! You 've s*** on your own let;s s*** on Europe or haven't you got the b***s!
Its Business they would feed us Sh** if they could make it look like Beef ! what happened to all the intervention Beef that was stockpiled and frozen for years ?. You can buy a Horse in auction for a few pounds and if you can pass it off as beef you get £1000's you can see the attraction .
HOW MANY OF US KNOW WHO OUR MEPs ARE??? FOR GOD's SAKE FIND OUT AND LET THEM KNOW WE ARE NOT PAYING THEM TO LINE THEIR POCKETS AT OUR EXPENSE!!!!!!!!!!! HEALTH WISE AND FINANCIALLY. FIND OUT JUST HOW MUCH THEY ARE PAID AND THE EXPENSES AND TAX FREE PENSIONS THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE ENTITLED TO DRAW UPON HOW CAN COUNTRIES LIKE LUXEMBOURG, ROMANIA, ALBANIA LITHUANIA AND ESTONIA PLAY A MAJOR PART IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE. AND POLAND , WHOSE ECONONOMY SEEMS TO BE BASED ON THE BRITISH BENEFITS SYSTEM. PLEASE ,PLEASE ,PLEASE GET RID OFTHIS EU ELITE WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES UNANSWERABLE TO ANYONE????????????????????
Do you hate Europe for a reason or is it just blind
Shaun.Well said.The EU has shafted us,together with our politicians.
Alex you should have gone to specsavers.
The true consipracy is not Halal meat or horsemeat instead of beef; it is the fact that much of our prepacked 'food' is barely food at all and the only way to guaranatee fresh is to buy local small and independent...
take a look at at or read "1984" or the old movie Mertropilis. And you see Brussells visions of the future, Future Generations have my Sympathy. God Bless
I fear for the survival of what we claim to be our "Heritage" It seems we are forced into accepting other peoples beliefs and cultures by the misguided pc beliefs of elected mentors. We should encompass others into ours as should they accept and and encompass ours. Please let us maintain and uphold all the beliefs of everythinhg that is British but accept others that accept and maintain or way oy life. Long live the Queen.
Enterprising eBay users have already taken to auctioning the firm's beef lasgnes, with one receiving bids of £12 - with proceeds apparently going towards Help The Heroes charity. Was that Bid or Bet ?
Whilst on a training course a few years a go I heard a few observations from a member of the course to other members of Europe. GERMANY--We beat you in two world wars so what have you got to say. FRAN CE--- You gave up the ghost in in two wars and lett England sort it out. HOLLAND-- A Nation built on drugs and Pornograghy. BELGIUM---Poirot and Van Damme
I'm not bothered about this in the slightest. If this was an issue of food poisoning then fair enough. But this comes down to people not wanting to eat a 'poor horsey'. It's a trading standards issue. Being a carnivore I find it hypocritical to eat one animal but take offence about eating another. The same goes to those up in arms about Halal meat. You take offence to how it's killed, yet still eat it? Come on..
I know its not nice eating something that you are not used to eating. Other countries are used to eating things like rattle snake, which tastes like chicken... in fact most other white meats taste like chicken. What I have to laugh at is that everyone on here is worried that they have been eating a new meat...have none of you stopped to think about what else is in every food that you eat, chemical wise that causes cancer... cancer isman made... think about it!
Surely the issue here is not necessarily whats in it, but what the label says is in it.
If it's true that there is an "international conspiracy" at the centre of all this, then how easy would it be for terrorists to compromise a large percentage of the worlds food supply with frightening results.
Where there's money there's a fiddle, there's lots of money in European union. Look out BLAIRS ABOUT
This is Capitalism....it's what capitalist economics is about, profit over public. Why the surprise? Those who did this were unlucky enough to get caught. More cuts to the FSA and next time they probably won't get caught.