Asda mince supplied by ABP-owned Dalepak tested positive for 29% horsemeat, The Grocer can reveal - despite CEO Paul Finnerty telling last week’s EFRA committee that Dalepak had been given the all-clear on the horsemeat front.

Asda withdrew a 454g frozen lean beef mince product on 16 January as “a precaution”. And on Tuesday last week (5 March), Finnerty told the EFRA select committee that, as hundreds of tests had been carried out on raw material going into and finished product coming out of Dalepak, there had been no positive results above trace (1%) levels. “Fortunately Dalepak is clear,” he said at the hearing.

But Asda’s own tests have established that the mince contained 29% horse DNA. And ABP will now be forced to backtrack.

ABP claims it was only told by Asda of the findings on 9 March - four days after the EFRA select committee. “At the time, ABP had no evidence of any test results outside Silvercrest that were above 1%. Given this Asda result, that is now not true, and ABP will be informing the committee directly when they respond on other questions,” an ABP spokesman said.

ABP claimed it carried out more than 600 tests since the middle of January, including samples from the same day’s production as the Asda frozen mince, and all results had been negative for equine DNA. A traceability check has established the beef for the mince was sourced from third party suppliers who were “in specification”.

Investigations were ongoing in relation to the discrepancy between Asda and ABP’s test results, the spokesman added.

Earlier this week, Tesco revealed that a frozen meatloaf had been found to contain between 2% and 5% horsemeat.