Sir: Reports of horse meat and pig DNA being found in beef products sold in UK and Irish supermarkets are shocking but not surprising (‘Horse meat scandal: 26 Tesco lines withdrawn’, thegrocer.co.uk, 16 January). I strongly doubt there is an agenda among food manufacturers to ‘pass off’ one meat as another or that there is confusion in higher industry echelons about the hygiene standards required to avoid such contamination.
Below that level, there are questions to be asked. Many companies do not understand manufacturing compliance. My insight comes from the provision of oils used by food manufacturers to provide heat for their processing lines. It is an international requirement that these be food grade - so they can’t contaminate product with non-food grade fluid. But many companies are unaware of this when I first meet them.
The horse and pig contamination problem was first discovered by the Irish Food Standard independent test, which highlights the value of independent testing. This is no coincidence. What is required is better understanding and application of the regulations we already have that can prevent this kind of contamination. Without this, such contamination is not just possible, it’s inevitable.
Clive Jones, MD, Global Heat Transfer