100% horse meat

A popular dish. But Findus 'beef' lasagnes have been found to contain between 60% and 100% horse meat. Image courtesy of Pierre Wolfer

The horse meat contamination saga escalated yesterday when it was revealed that some Findus ‘beef’ lasagnes on sale in the UK consisted of 100% horse meat.

Britain’s Food Standards Agency announced yesterday that testing had identified horse meat in the products of European food manufacturing group, Findus.

Eighteen beef lasagne dishes underwent DNA testing and were found to consist of between 60% and 100% horsemeat.

Findus makes products under several leading UK brands including Young’s and The Seafood Company.

Recall of its Lasagnes began this week on the advice of a French supplier – Comigel – whose concerns were prompted by the earlier discovery of horse meat in burgers sold by Tesco and manufactured by Ireland-based Silvercrest.

As in the case of the beef burger incident, FSA has said the horse meat content of Findus’ products poses no health risk. However the escalating food industry scandal raises severe concerns about manufacturing site security and the traceability of ingredients in globalised food supply chains.

It has been suggested that criminal activity is to blame for the contamination of beef products with horse meat.

In the wake of this new discovery FSA said larger scale testing of so called beef products on sale in the UK would push ahead.

Focus will be on cheaper-end products such as burgers and the results of nationwide testing will be released in April.

“In order to get to the bottom of this, we’re going to be requiring every company to test every product line,” Catherine Brown, the FSA’s chief executive, told the BBC.

Legal advisors to manufacturers have said this scandal may have wider implications for product liability clauses in supplier contracts and potentially introduce new mandatory testing procedures within existing manufacturing processes.