15:50 16 January 2013
Traces of horsemeat have been found in beef burgers sold in supermarkets in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, it emerged on Tuesday. A total of 27 beef products were tested; with 10 of them containing traces of horse DNA, and 23 products having traces of pig DNA in them.
The Food Standards Agency has said in light of the situation that there is no health risk posed to humans. The burgers have now been removed and it is understood that investigations into the matter will take place.
The meat is said to have come from two processing plants in Ireland the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has stated, and these were Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in the UK.
Raymond Ellard, from the FSAI, confirmed in a report by the BBC that there will be investigations made into how the items on sale in the UK and Ireland became contaminated with horsemeat.
Among the stores to stock some of the contaminated products weresupermarket giants Tesco and Iceland, as well as Aldi and Lidl.
Mr. Ellard said that the firms have ‘withdrawn products from sale’.
He told the BBC: “They are co-operating completely with the authorities here to investigate how this could have happened.
“A long chain of inquiry has to take place now to look at all the raw ingredients that we use for these productions, where they came from and how the cross-contamination could have occurred.”
Tim Smith, the group Technical Director for Tesco, said they immediately removed stock from sale after receiving information on Tuesday. He said: “The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious.”
He added: “We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.”
Iceland said that the news was ‘concerning’ and that they had also removed products from sale. The firm said in a statement that it would help look into the situation.
Aldi explained that one of its beef burger products was also involved in the matter. They immediately removed the affected stock from sale, and said in a statement they would investigate the incident.
The Independent has said in one report that Liffey Meats has attributed the contamination with ‘imported ingredients.
It is understood that certain people do not have pig meat in their diets.
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