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UK retailer Tesco’s DNA tests have revealed that some of its Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese contain 60% horsemeat.
The meal, withdrawn from sale on Tuesday, came from the French factory producing Findus beef lasagne, also at the centre of a row over horsemeat.
Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has told MPs of plans to test all processed beef in the UK.
Romania has rejected claims that it was responsible for wrongly labeling horsemeat from its abattoirs.
Tesco took the frozen bolognese off the shelves when it found out Findus was concerned about the source of its meat at the Comigel processing plant in Metz, north-eastern France.
It is one of several products that have been withdrawn from UK shelves amid the current scandal over horsemeat in food products in the UK and Europe.
Tesco Group technical director Tim Smith said: “The frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese should contain only Irish beef from our approved suppliers. The source of the horsemeat is still under investigation by the relevant authorities.
“The level of contamination suggests that Comigel was not following the appropriate production process for our Tesco product and we will not take food from their facility again.
“We are very sorry that we have let customers down.”
Owen Paterson told MPs he had called in representatives of all Britain’s producers, retailers and distributors and “made it clear” he expected to see immediate testing of all processed beef products across the supply chain.
He said testing should take place every three months, and the Food Standards Agency should be notified of results.
Owen Paterson told representatives from the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the British Meat Processors Association, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the Institute of Grocery Distribution and individual retailers that he expected to see:
- “meaningful results from this testing by the end of this week”;
- “more testing of products for horse along the supply chain and that the industry must co-operate fully with the FSA on this”;
- “publication of industry test results every three months through the FSA”;
- “and that they let the FSA know as soon as they become aware of a potential problem in their products”.
Tesco’s DNA tests have revealed that some of its Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese contain 60 percent horsemeat
In the Commons, Labour’s Mary Creagh accused Owen Paterson of being too slow to respond as incidents emerged.
“The secretary of state had to be called back to London from his long weekend to deal with the crisis,” she claimed.
“Until Saturday’s panic summit, he hadn’t actually met the food industry to address this crisis.”
News of the tests came after Romanian PM Victor Ponta earlier on Monday denied two abattoirs in his country sold horsemeat purported to be beef to European food companies.
The abattoirs had been linked to the contamination of processed meat products sold in Europe. Victor Ponta said checks were carried out and there had been no breach of rules and standards.
In France, consumer affairs minister Benoit Hamon said that the whole of the food industry would be under heightened surveillance, with more random sampling of products and wider use of DNA tests to determine the origin of meat.
French inspectors were at the Comigel headquarters in Metz in north-eastern France on Monday. Findus meals were made by the company at its Luxembourg factory.
Investigators were also at the offices in the south of France of the importer Spanghero, which brought the meat to France from Romania.
Last week Findus UK took its frozen beef lasagne, made by Comigel, off the shelves after some samples were found to contain up to 100% horsemeat.
Seven French supermarkets have withdrawn frozen ready-meals made by the company.
The controversy surrounding contamination of meat products has also affected firms in the Irish Republic and Poland.
Last month, Irish food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains, including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.
And on Monday night, one Dutch supermarket chain took its Prima Frost brand of lasagne off the shelves amid fears it may contain horsemeat.
Owen Paterson said he would meet with his European counterparts and the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg later this week in the wake of the scandal.
“At the moment this appears to be an issue of fraud and mis-labeling.
“But if anything suggests the need for changes to surveillance and enforcement in the UK we will not hesitate to make those changes,” he said.
Food Standards Agency (FSA) in UK has announced that the meat of some beef lasagne products recalled by Findus earlier this week was 100% horsemeat.
On Monday, Findus withdrew from retailers its beef lasagne in 320g, 360g and 500g sizes as a precaution.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the findings were “completely unacceptable”, but Findus said it did not believe it was a food safety issue.
The FSA said companies would now be required to test their beef products.
“In order to get to the bottom of this, we’re going to be requiring every company to test every product line,” said Catherine Brown, the FSA’s chief executive.
“If we find any other cases, we will pursue our investigations vigorously until we find out what’s happened and put a stop to it.”
Catherine Brown said it was “highly likely” that criminal activity was to blame for horsemeat being found in some meals.
The FSA said Findus had tested 18 of its beef lasagne products and found 11 meals containing between 60% and 100% horsemeat.
People have been warned not to eat the products, which were made for Findus by French food supplier Comigel.
The FSA said: “We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk. However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or <<bute>>.
“Animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain as [the drug] may pose a risk to human health.
“The Findus beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Findus has already begun a full recall of these products.
“People who have bought any Findus beef lasagne products are advised not to eat them and return them to the shop they bought them from.”
FSA in UK has announced that the meat of some beef lasagne products recalled by Findus earlier this week was 100 percent horsemeat
Owen Paterson said the presence of unauthorized ingredients “cannot be tolerated”.
“The responsibility for the safety and authenticity of food lies with those who produce it, and who sell or provide it to the final consumer. I know that food producers, retailers and caterers are as concerned as we are at the course of recent events,” he said.
He said the government was working closely with businesses to “root out any illegal activity” and enforce regulations.
Findus said the product was manufactured by a third party supplier and not by Findus. The frozen food company said all its other products had been tested and were not affected.
Findus said in a statement: “We understand this is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.
“We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue.
“We would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”
This week supermarket chains Aldi and Tesco, as well as Findus UK, withdrew some beef products from sale after concerns were raised at their French supplier.
Comigel alerted Findus and Aldi that their products “do not conform to specification”.
They advised them to remove Findus Beef Lasagne and Aldi’s Today’s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese.
Tesco also decided to withdraw Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese.
The Tesco product was produced at the same Comigel site but there was no evidence of contamination, the supermarket said.
The wider food contamination controversy arose in mid-January when Irish food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.
Asda has withdrawn products supplied by Newry-based Freeza Meats which was storing meat found to contain a high proportion of horse DNA. Two samples were found to contain 80% horsemeat.
The horsemeat controversy has hit the Irish meat-processing industry, with a number of suppliers on both sides of the border affected.
The survey “aims to identify and understand factors that may lead to the presence of meat species that are not labelled as an ingredient, so that this can be explained, eliminated or correctly labelled”.
Two pranksters dressed up as a pantomime horse were thrown out of a UK Tesco supermarket after trotting around the frozen beef burger aisle shouting “murderers”.
A video of the incident, believed to have taken place in a Welsh store, has already racked up over 200,000 hits on YouTube in less than two days.
The mobile phone footage shows the pantomime horse rolling on the floor near the frozen food aisle shouting “where’s my mum?” before a security guard asks them to leave.
Earlier this week Tesco was one of several UK supermarkets revealed to have quantities of horse meat in its frozen burgers.
Two pranksters dressed up as a pantomime horse were thrown out of a UK Tesco supermarket after trotting around the frozen beef burger aisle
The alert was first raised by Irish food watchdogs after horse DNA was found in burgers sold through Tesco, Iceland, Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes in Ireland.
It subsequently emerged that burgers from the same batches were sold in the British outlets of both Tesco and Iceland.
Incredibly, the beef content in one Everyday Value burger sold by Tesco was actually 29% horse meat.
More than ten million burgers have now been removed from sale, including more than 100,000 made at the Yorkshire factory of Dalepak.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op immediately decided to remove thousands of packs of frozen burgers as a precautionary measure.
British PM David Cameron reacted angrily, condemning Tesco on Thursday, saying: “People in our country will have been very concerned to read this morning that when they thought they were buying beef burgers they were buying something that had horse meat in it.”
“This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs,” David Cameron added, calling for an urgent investigation by Britain’s Food Standards Agency.
Experts have warned that gym supplements are often doing more harm than good.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says high levels of additional protein can cause side effects.
These can included nausea as well as kidney and liver damage.
They want clearer warnings about what is in the powders and tablets.
Manufacturers say consumers are well protected with only 11 reported reactions in 11 years.
“The more protein in your diet the more you have to get rid of.”
Experts have warned that gym supplements are often doing more harm than good
Jane Griffin is a former British Olympic dietician and speaks for the BDA.
“People who have these high protein diets are now running into problems with their kidneys because of the amount of protein they must get rid of.”
The body needs protein for muscle growth and many gym goers use it to try to get bigger quickly.
Gym supplements come under food law so although they have to be labelled properly what is in them can vary.
They are different to medicines which legally have to ensure contents are more specific.
Euromonitor, who research the market size of products, estimate that the sports supplement industry grew 15% last year.
They think one in five people who go to the gym more than twice a week use supplements that can come in the form of powders and bars.
British Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55.5 g for men and 45 g for women).
Most adults will take this in during their normal daily meals.
There have been warnings before, most recently from the food standards agency, who advise people not to take gym supplements containing DMAA.
The stimulant was being sold in some pre-workout and “fat-burning” shakes.
The BDA argue there is now evidence to show excess levels of additional protein taken over a long time can cause health problems.
They believe people can get enough protein naturally from things like chicken and milk.
Richard Cook is 22 and a student from Chesterfield. He has been taking supplements for four years but says he had a bad reaction to one of them.
“It felt like I was on drugs. I was shaking and I got angry. It also had an effect on my girlfriend who didn’t want to be around me when a had taken it.”
Although he still takes protein and creatine gym supplements he says he has cut down from seven to four shakes a day.
“I started thinking to myself, with this one product, why am I taking it when I feel terrible?”
The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association, who represent the supplement industry, says compared to other foods or medicines, gym supplements have an enviable record.
Food companies in UK have been warned about the presence of acrylamide, cancer-risk chemical, in everyday products ranging from crisps and chips to instant coffee and ginger biscuits.
A biscuit designed for babies and toddlers has also been caught up in the alert.
Experts are even warning families to only lightly toast their bread at home, as the chemical, called acrylamide, is more likely to form the longer and darker foods cook.
A study by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has identified 13 products containing raised levels of the chemical. In each case, officials at the local council where the supplier is based have been told to notify them.
Acrylamide, which is still being investigated by scientists, is a cooking by-product associated with frying, baking, roasting or toasting foods at very high temperatures, usually greater than 120 C.
The FSA insists its findings raise no immediate risk to the public and there is no need for people to change their diet.
The UK Food Standards Agency warns food companies that everyday products such as instant coffee could contain the cancer chemical acrylamide
However, it is putting pressure on all food companies to reduce acrylamide levels because long-term consumption could increase the risk of cancer. Its official advice is also that families should ensure bread and chips they eat are only toasted or baked to the “lightest color possible”.
The FSA said its study of levels of acrylamide and furan – another cancer-risk chemical – is used to identify which firms need to take action. Acrylamide is formed by a reaction between natural components in food as it cooks.
In reality it has probably been in the diet for as long as man has fried, roasted or toasted food. Manufacturers including Heinz and McVitie’s have already responded by changing their recipes.
But others, including Nestle, makers of Nescafe, say it is impossible to do so without harming the flavor and quality of their products. Nestle added: “There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest any particular product has any negative impact on health in the context of acrylamide exposure.”
The FSA is required by the EU and the European Food Safety Authority to carry out the annual tests. It looked at 248 samples, from chips sold by fast-food outlets to supermarket own-label and big brand ranges. In 13 cases levels were above the “indicative value” – a trigger point to tell the firm it should examine its production process.
European watchdogs have been putting pressure on food manufacturers to reduce acrylamide for almost a decade.
In 2002 Swedish studies revealed high levels formed during the frying or baking of potato or cereal products.
The FSA said: “This raised worldwide public concern because studies in laboratory animals suggest acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans by interacting with the DNA in cells.
“The Agency believes exposure to such chemicals should be as low as reasonably practicable.”
The latest survey found “an upward trend” in acrylamide levels in processed cereal-based baby foods, excluding rusks. Importantly however, the FSA said this did not mean parents should stop giving these products to youngsters.
The UK Food and Drink Federation, which represents manufacturers, said members are “ensuring levels are as low as reasonably achievable”.
Heinz changed its Banana Biscotti recipe this year to reduce acrylamide to trace levels. United Biscuits, which makes McVitie’s Gingernuts, said it has cut acrylamide by 70%. The firm also pledged to cut levels in its McCoy’s crisps.