UK: Slump in positive horsemeat tests

Horsemeat tests are drawing negative results

Horsemeat tests are drawing negative results - Credit: PA

The latest testing for horse DNA in beef products has shown a dramatic slump in positive results at or above the levels of 1%, figures show.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said three beef products contained horse DNA at over the 1% threshold out of the latest 19,050 industry test results.

None tested positive for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone (bute).

The three products that tested positive were Tesco’s Simply Meatloaf and Aldi’s Oakhurst Frozen Meatloaf in Gravy and Oakhurst Frozen Meatloaf in Tomato Sauce.

All three products were removed from sale in March.

FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said: “These additional test results show that we remain vigilant and are continuing to work with industry and local authorities so that consumers can be confident that food on sale in the UK is labelled accurately and is safe to eat.

“Investigations are ongoing into how this incident happened and a review process is under way to ensure that any lessons for the future are identified and implemented.”

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Mehboob Khan, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Councils have provided an invaluable response to the horsemeat crisis, using established relationships and knowledge of local businesses along with close working with the FSA to test products and provide advice. Communities will be reassured that no new cases of contamination have been discovered.

“Food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers have a responsibility for ensuring the products they produce or sell comply fully with food law, are fit for consumption and won’t risk public safety.

“As part of their role to encourage economic growth, councils will continue to provide advice, support and guidance to local businesses as we know that a compliant business is a successful business. Councils must be allowed the flexibility to focus resources on a risk-based and intelligence-led approach to food testing which builds on their extensive knowledge of local businesses.”