EU go-ahead for 2,250 beef product tests

The Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health with experts from EU countries met to approve the series of tests proposed by agriculture ministers earlier this week as the horsemeat controversy widened further yesterday.

EU go-ahead for 2,250 beef product tests

SCOFAH confirmed that 2,250 tests, co-financed by the EU, will be carried out into foods mainly in shops and supermarkets marked as containing beef. Between ten and 150 samples were be tested in each country.

A second series of tests will be carried out on horsemeat to detect traces of phenylbutazone, the anti-inflammatory painkiller administered to horses but which is banned for use on animals, including horse that is destined for human consumption. Each country will carry out a minimum of five tests.

The widening controversy yesterday saw horsemeat being discovered in school dinners, with cottage pie testing positive for horse DNA having been sent to 47 Lancashire schools.

The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said 2,501 tests have been carried out on beef products, with 29 results positive for undeclared horsemeat at or above 1%.

These 29 results related to seven products, which have already been reported and withdrawn from sale.

The products linked to the positive results were confirmed to be Aldi’s special frozen beef lasagne and special frozen spaghetti bolognese, the Co-op’s frozen quarter pounder burgers, Findus beef lasagne, Rangeland’s catering burger products, and Tesco value frozen burgers and value spaghetti bolognese.

Greencore — whose chief executive is the brother of Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney — has become the latest Irish firm to be dragged into the horse meat scandal after Asda confirmed it has withdrawn bolognese sauce supplied to it by the Irish food manufacturer.

Greencore said it was given the meat by Larry Goodman’s ABP Food Group’s plant in Nenagh in Tipperary — the second time ABP has come under the spotlight in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Compass Group, the world’s largest catering firm, said it believes 13 sites in the Republic and 27 in the North received tainted food — including two schools in Northern Ireland.

The meat in question was sourced from Rangeland Foods, the Monaghan firm which has sold some burgers later found to contain 5%-20% horsemeat. Compass said Rangeland previously assured the firm it was not supplied with horse DNA burgers.

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