Strawberry Standards

Food Standards Agency Investigates Horse Burger Claims

The Food Standards Agency urgently investigate beef burgers sold at Tesco amid repots that horse DNA was present in the product


Blackburn, Lancashire -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/24/2013 --The recent scandal involving traces of horse meat in beef burgers from supermarket giant Tesco has been investigated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA has acted urgently in the wake of the revelation and discovered that a number of beef burgers contained horse and pig DNA.

The investigation included the analysis of 27 beef burger products. Out of the 27 burgers tested, 10 were found to test positive for horse DNA, this equates to 37%. Additionally, 23 of the 27 (85%) of the tested products were found to contain pig DNA.

The latter revelation, whilst not receiving the same media attention, is particularly shocking due to the dietary and religious restrictions upon people who can not eat pork.

The level of horse DNA in the 10 affected products was found to be very low in nine of the cases. However, in the final burger, the horse DNA accounted for 29% of the the total meat content of the burger.

This scandal has highlighted the need for greater transparency in food production and food hygiene. Food Safety Regulations dictate that that food producers must be honest and clear to their consumers as to what goes into the produce.

Joanne Scott, Food Industry Advisor and Director of Strawberry Standards believes that the consumer has an inherent right to full product knowledge:

"Consumers have a right to know exactly what they are eating and Food Safety Legislation exists to protect them. This is a clear contravention of the law and the outcome of the investigation may highlight inadequate food quality controls resulting in cross contamination of species. Going forward the food industry must learn from this to raise the confidence of consumers"

This news highlights the need for Food Hygiene Regulations and thorough product testing. The Hazard and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematical approach in which all aspects of the production process are identified for potential hazards. The process identifies any biological, chemical and physical dangers or misdemeanours that may compromise the safety of the product.

All of the guilty retailers have removed any products from the shelves that may be potentially affected. The FSA contacted the retailers and producers who were named and shamed by the report and plan to meet with their representatives. Representatives from a wider range of food industry representatives will be present at this meeting to help discover the full extent of the problem and how the contamination came about.