FSA finds positive horse meat tests as more companies drawn into scandal

City A.M. Reporter
The Food Standards Agency said this afternoon it had found 29 positive tests for horse meat after demanding samples from UK retailers.

In a scandal that is spreading across Europe, the agency said this afternoon it had conducted 2,501 tests, 2,472 of which had come back negative for horsemeat levels above one per cent, with 29 results testing positive for horsemeat levels above one per cent.

It said all products that tested positive had already been announced and appropriate steps taken.

Additionally, more companies found themselves dragged into the growing horse meat scandal today, as caterer Compass Group and restaurant group Whitbread said equine DNA was found in products they sold as beef.

The scandal, which has triggered product recalls and damaged confidence in Europe's vast and complex food industry, erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horse meat.

Compass said today that it had sold beef burgers distributed by Irish firm Rangeland Foods to sites in Ireland and Northern Ireland that contained a small amount of horse DNA. The products have now been withdrawn.

Costa Coffee owner Whitbread, which also owns Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, said beef burger and lasagne products had tested positive for equine DNA and had been removed from sale.

Separately, Lancashire County Council in north-west England said it was recalling cottage pies from 47 schools after they tested positive for traces of horse DNA.

Grocers Sainsbury’s and Iceland said today they had not found evidence of horse DNA in their products.