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Nestle Withdraws Beef Products After Tests Identify Horse DNA

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, is withdrawing some beef ravioli and beef tortellini products and suspended deliveries after food tested positive for horse DNA.

Nestle is removing the chilled pasta foods in Italy and Spain immediately and replacing them with 100 percent beef products, the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. Nestle has for now also stopped all deliveries of products with beef from H.J. Schypke, a subcontractor of Nestle supplier JBS Toledo NV.

“The levels found are above the 1 percent threshold the U.K.’s Food Safety Agency uses to indicate likely adulteration or gross negligence,” according to the statement. “There is no food safety issue, but the mislabeling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us.”

Nestle is the latest food company in Europe to be engulfed by the horse meat scandal which started in Ireland in mid-January. Retailers across the region have withdrawn products such as frozen beef burgers, lasagnas and meat balls from the shelves and the European Union has ordered immediate testing across the bloc for equine DNA in beef products and the veterinary drug phenylbutazone in horse meat.

Nestle said it has also withdrawn a frozen lasagna produced in France for the catering industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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