New round of horsemeat tests confirmed

Beef products will be subject to further testing to check for horsemeat contamination, the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) has confirmed.

The new round of checks has been requested by the European Commission as part of its follow-up to the horsemeat scandal last year, and is designed to give additional reassurance to consumers that the food chain is being monitored for potential problems.

Testing will be carried out on raw beef products, including mince, burgers and sausages, as well as cooked ready meals. All EU member states have been asked to submit test results, with the UK to collect and test 150 samples of beef products.

Samples will be taken by 24 local authorities from across the UK, from retail outlets, wholesale catering suppliers and cold stores, and will be submitted to the Commission by July 2014.

The FSA has said that these are in addition to the routine sampling programmes that have been carried out since last year, as well as the quarterly sampling that has been taking place, but is not in response to new intelligence about food fraud.

Any samples that test positive for horsemeat contamination above the 1% reporting level set for the EU-wide study will be revealed following laboratory confirmation, said the FSA.

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said: “We remain vigilant about the threats to our food supply from fraudsters and determined that we do not see a repeat of the problems that emerged last year. We are working closely with local authorities to do more authenticity testing and we have increased the additional funding we provide, to support this, to £2m this year.”


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