Horsemeat found in supermarket burgers

Some beef products found to be contaminated with horse meat

Horsemeat has been found in some beefburgers being sold in UK and Irish supermarkets, according to the Republic of Ireland’s food safety authority (FSAI).

The burgers were on sale in Tesco and Iceland stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as also being sold in Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi in Ireland.

The FSAI said the meat came from two Irish processing plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire.

A total of 27 products were analysed, with 10 of them containing horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA. In one sample from Tesco, horsemeat made up approximately 29 per cent of the meat content.

In addition pig DNA was found in 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne.

The chief executive of the FSAI, Professor Alan Reilly, confirmed there was no risk to public health, although there were some concerns.

He said: ‘Whilst, there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process.

‘In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger,’ Prof Reilly added.

‘Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable.’

Tesco’s technical director, Tim Smith, said his company ‘immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question’.

In a statement, he said: ‘The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious.’

An investigation is currently taking place into how the meat was contaminated.

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