FSA goes to work on horsemeat burger investigation

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced its investigation into the horsemeat burger scandal will form two separate strands.

Following a meeting with industry representatives late yesterday, the agency said the Food Standards Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI’s) original study had revealed two separate issues: in the majority of cases, the levels of equine and pig DNA found was extremely low, but one case was an exception with nearly 30% horsemeat content found in a Tesco burger.

In a statement, the agency said: “The causes of these two problems are therefore likely to be different and the focus of the investigations into the causes will be different.”

The FSA said it had now set out a four-point plan for its investigation:

1. To continue the urgent review of the traceability of the food products identified in the FSAI’s survey. The retailers and the UK processor named in the survey have been asked to provide comprehensive information on the findings by the end of Friday 18 January.

2. To explore further, in conjunction with the FSAI, the methodology used for the survey to understand more clearly the factors that may have led to the low-level cases of cross-contamination.

3. To consider, with relevant local authorities and the FSAI, whether any legal action is appropriate following the investigation.

4. To work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the devolved rural affairs departments and local authorities on a UK-wide study of food authenticity in processed meat products.


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