Meat testing

The latest FSA tests have found no new cases of horsemeat in beef

The Food Standards Agency has published its latest quarterly update on industry horsemeat testing, confirming no new beef products have tested positive for horse DNA.

The regulator said the industry had submitted 6,069 new beef test results since its last quarterly update, on 7 October, of which 3,333 came from ABP Food Group. None indicated the presence of horse DNA above the 1% testing threshold agreed by the FSA and industry at the height of the horsemeat scandal.

Although industry tests have not thrown up new horse DNA cases since 7 October, non-industry tests have uncovered further horsemeat cases since then. On 31 October, trading standards officers at Lincolnshire County Council found horse DNA above the 1% threshold in tinned sliced beef in Home Bargains and Quality Save stores.

In total, the UK food industry has now submitted 38,473 beef tests via the FSA since the horsemeat scandal broke last January. Of those, 47 have tested positive for more than 1% horse DNA.

In an interview with The Grocer marking the anniversary of the scandal earlier this month, FSA CEO Catherine Brown said there were no plans to stop publishing quarterly horse test results, but she stressed future food fraud scandals were unlikely to involve horsemeat in beef.

“The next problem of authenticity is very unlikely to be horse in beef, so to some extent it’s of secondary interest to me to continue to publish endless statistics specifically about sampling for horsemeat,” she said. “To demonstrate their trustworthiness, I would really encourage retailers and industry to consider publishing a much wider range of their control data.”

New horsemeat discovery in the Netherlands

While the FSA today gave the UK industry the all-clear, its Dutch equivalent, the NVWA, today issued an alert saying it had found horsemeat mixed into beef at a slaughterhouse in the central eastern province of Gederland.

Horse DNA was found in four batches of beef, the NVWA said in a press statement, adding investigations had thrown up concerns about the company’s traceability records. It said it had blocked all consignments of meat held by the company – amounting to 690 tonnes – until the meat’s origin and full traceability can be established, giving the slaughterhouse a deadline of 3 February to do so. Its operations would be suspended thereafter, it added.