Tesco burgers found to contain a third horse meat
Horse meat has been found in Tesco burgers along with other food retailers including Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores, a DNA test revealed yesterday.
Following an investigation carried out by the Republic of Ireland’s Food Safety Authority (FSAI), it was found that 29% of Tesco’s Everyday Value beef burger was horse meat. Traces of horse DNA were also found in the chain’s frozen quarter pounder.
The FSAI claimed that the suppliers were two processing chains located in Ireland – Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods – and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire. However, according to Irish food safety experts, horse meat is said to cause no harm to human health.
A total of 27 products were analysed, with ten of them containing horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA. All the items concerned have now been withdrawn from the food retailers’ shelves.
According to the FSAI chief executive, Professor Alan Reilly, it is still unclear how horse meat ended up in the meat.
“Whilst, there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process,” he said.
However, the findings raise concerns about “the traceability of meat ingredients and products entering the food chain”, investigators said. Mr Reilly went on to brand the practice as “unacceptable”, especially “for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat.”
In a statement Tesco’s group Technical Director, Tim Smith, assured the public that: “The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. ”
He added that Tesco was “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”.
Meanwhile Liffey Meat, Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak claim to have never purchased or traded horse meat and blame it on third party European suppliers.