The NFU has called on retailers to introduce clearer labelling of the origins of ingredients in products in the wake of this week’s horse meat saga.

The farming union has also called for an end to the co-mingling of UK meat and imported meat in products.

In a statement issued today, president Peter Kendall claimed the scandal had severely undermined confidence in the UK food industry, and that farmers were rightly angry that the integrity of UK-farmed products was being compromised by cheaper imported alternatives.

“Retailers will know that they must take immediate action to address both the integrity of all their suppliers, and at the same time ensure that UK products are easily distinguishable and clearly labelled,” he said.

The horse meat revelation was particularly concerning because it came at a time when farmers were under enormous pressures and consumer confidence was low, he added.

The calls to action come after more than 10 million burgers were withdrawn this week following tests by the Irish Food Safety Authority that identified the presence of horse DNA in a sample of burgers bought from Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Dunnes Stores.