U.K. Minister Holds Talks With Meat Industry Over Contamination

U.K. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said he has called an “urgent” meeting today with the Food Standards Agency and meat retailers and suppliers over reports by some supermarkets that horsemeat has been found in some ready meals meant to contain beef.

“It’s totally unacceptable that people have been sold something that is not what they think it is,” Paterson said in a statement on his department’s website late yesterday. “Investigations are going on across Europe, and the evidence so far suggests that it’s either criminal activity or gross negligence.”

Paterson said Findus has notified the FSA that significant quantities of horse meat had been found in its frozen beef lasagnes and that two cases of frozen burgers from Tesco and the lasagne from Findus are linked to suppliers in Ireland and France respectively.

“In addition, the FSA has ordered food businesses to test all their processed beef products and is conducting its own survey of beef products, including those supplied to schools and hospitals,” Paterson said. “The FSA has said that unless there is advice to avoid a specific product, there is no reason for people to change their shopping habits. There is no reason to believe that processed beef products currently on sale are unsafe.”

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