Hamburger meat photo from Shutterstock

In the latest development in the horse meat scandal, the Aldi supermarket chain just announced that some of its frozen beef products were found to contain up to 100 percent horse meat. The affair started in mid-January when food inspectors in Ireland found horse meat in burgers stocked by several UK supermarkets – including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl. The Food Standards Agency will meet the environment secretary, food suppliers and retailers on Saturday to discuss the issue.

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Some frozen food products sold in Britain were found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat. The Swedish company Findus withdrew its beef microwave meals from sale in the UK, France and Sweden. Aldi said that its tests demonstrated that the withdrawn products contained between 30% and 100% horse meat.

“This is completely unacceptable and like other affected companies, we feel angry and let down by our supplier. If the label says beef, our customers expect it to be beef. Suppliers are absolutely clear that they are required to meet our stringent specifications and that we do not tolerate any failure to do so,” said a spokesman for Aldi.

The products implicated are from French supplier Comigel – the company that also supplied Findus. Comigel claimed that its meat supplies were bought from a company called Spangero, but it was later established that the beef was sourced from Romania.

“Findus want to be absolutely explicit that they were not aware of any issue of contamination with horsemeat last year,” said Findus in a statement. “They were only made aware of a possible August 2012 date through a letter dated 2 February 2013 from the supplier Comigel. By then Findus was already conducting a full supply chain traceability review and had pro-actively initiated DNA testing.”

“We believe that the two particular cases of the frozen burgers from Tesco and the lasagna from Findus are linked to suppliers in Ireland and France respectively. We and the Food Standards Agency are working closely with the authorities in these countries, as well as with Europol, to get to the root of the problem,” said Owen Paterson, the UK’s Environment Secretary.

Meanwhile, The FSA said there is no reason to suppose there is a health risk and advised customers not to throw away frozen meat products. The investigation into the presence of horse meat in everyday products is underway, with the FSA ordering UK firms to test all processed beef foods.  Although there have been claims that the horsemeat scandal is part of an international mafia conspiracy, the Metropolitan police stated that they will not carry out a criminal investigation.

“Although we have met with the FSA we have not started an investigation and will not do so unless it becomes clear there has been any criminality under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan police service.”

Via The Guardian

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