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FSA Update on Testing of Beef Products For Horse DNA

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FSA Update on Testing of Beef Products For Horse DNA

FSA Update on Testing of Beef Products For Horse DNA
February 25
11:48 2013

The FSA (Food Standards Agency) in the UK has received the second set of test results from the food industry, which has been checking for the presence of horse DNA in products that are labelled as beef. The overwhelming majority, 3,599 (over 99%), of tests contained no horse DNA at or above the level of 1%.

35 results, representing 13 products, contained horse DNA at or above the 1% threshold. These products have already been named and withdrawn from sale..

Overall, there have been 3,634 results received from a range of manufacturers, retailers, caterers and wholesalers throughout the UK. This includes the 1,133 new results that show six further products containing horse DNA, since the first set of industry results was announced.

No tests to date on samples containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).

There have been and continue to be instances where food businesses have withdrawn products due to trace contamination levels, or on a precautionary basis; for example, where they have been produced by manufacturers that have supplied other products found to be contaminated with horse DNA.

The FSA’s main focus at this point is on gross contamination of beef products with the substitution of horse meat, where there is more than 1% horse DNA detected in a product. The Agency believes that such levels of horse DNA indicate either gross negligence or deliberate substitution of one meat for another.

The major trade organisations, representing the businesses carrying out the testing, have provided estimates of the percentage of tests completed to date. Retailers have informed the FSA that they have completed approximately 90% of tests; manufacturers, caterers and wholesalers indicate they have completed around 80% of their tests. This includes all the major suppliers to schools, hospitals and other public institutions. A further update of industry testing results will be published on Friday, March 1st.


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