Nestlé has become the latest food giant to be dragged into the horse meat scandal, after finding traces of horse DNA in three products on sale in Spain, Italy and France.

The company announced on Monday (18 February) that it was withdrawing two chilled retail products – Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini – from Spain and Italy because they contained undeclared horse. A third, frozen product for the foodservice sector – Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes is being withdrawn from France.

Nestlé said there was “no food safety issue” with any of the products, and that it would replace them with versions made from 100% beef as soon as possible.

The products were made with beef from German company H.J. Schypke, a sub-contractor of Nestlé supplier JBS Toledo, a major Brazilian beef company.

Nestlé said it identified the horse DNA contamination in its products through its own raw material tests across Europe, which it introduced after UK reports emerged about fraudulent mislabelling of beef. It did not say how much horse DNA was found in the three products it had withdrawn but said they contained more than the 1% tolerance level set by the UK’s Food Standards Agency.

It added it was introducing new tests for horse DNA as part of its quality assurance programme. “Assuring the quality and safety of our products has always been a top priority for Nestlé,” the company added. “We want to apologise to consumers and reassure them that the actions being taken to deal with this issue will result in higher standards and enhanced traceability.”