Horse DNA beef found on sale in UK

The Food Standards Authority has confirmed a batch of canned sliced beef found to contain horse DNA has been withdrawn from sale at two UK retailers.

Horse DNA was found during routine testing by Lincolnshire County Council trading standards officers in the Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy, which was manufactured in Romania in January.

The product was on sale in branches of Home Bargains and Quality Save in 320g packs, and was found to contain horse DNA at a level of between 1 and 5%.

It also tested negative for the presence of the drug phenylbutazone, known as ‘bute’.

An FSA spokesperson advised customers with the product stored to return it to where it was bought, and confirmed the affected batch has a ‘best before’ date of January 2016 and a batch code of 13.04.C.

Nick Martin, senior vice-president for Northern Europe at traceability and product recall specialists Trace One, said the latest discovery shows that the effect of the horsemeat scandal is ongoing and wider reaching than originally anticipated.

“While Home Bargains and Quality Save stores have acted swiftly, ensuring that all relevant goods are removed from the shelves, contamination of food products is an issue that retailers and their suppliers will never be free from,” he said.

“The reality is that retailers cannot monitor every possible ingredient at every stage of its journey. In order to ensure the sanctity of the products on their shelves retailers must be able to undertake fast, comprehensive recalls of goods that may have been affected, thereby safeguarding their reputation and limiting consumer damage.”