Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Video:Dutch firm recalls meat products

Asda Smart Price Corned Beef is being recalled after traces of a veterinary drug were found in some batches

A small number of UK businesses may have received products from a Dutch company that supplied some 50,000 tonnes of meat that could have contained horse meat, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said.

Dutch authorities announced that the meat is being recalled where possible.

The FSA said there was no reason to suggest there was a food safety issue at this stage. It said: "The FSA has been advised of the withdrawal issued by the Dutch authorities today in relation to beef products that may potentially contain horse meat. Information from the Dutch authorities confirms that there is no reason to suggest this is a food safety issue at this stage.

"The FSA has been informed by the Dutch authorities that a small number of UK businesses may potentially have received products from the company implicated in their investigation. The FSA is following up with these businesses as a matter of urgency to determine if they have received products from the Dutch company."

It said the figure of 50,000 tonnes referred to the total amount of product distributed by the Dutch company since January 2011 and across 16 countries in Europe.

The Dutch authorities had confirmed that this information had come to light as part of their ongoing investigations into the horse meat incident. The Dutch authorities said the meat, that was sold as beef across Europe, was being recalled because its exact source could not be established.

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said that around 370 different companies around Europe and 130 more in the Netherlands were affected by the recall because they bought meat from two Dutch trading companies. It said that because the exact source of the meat cannot be traced "its safety cannot be guaranteed".

Meanwhile, Asda moved to reassure customers that it acted "immediately, and in the most high profile way possible" to alert them to bute detected in a corned beef product, initially withdrawn from sale more than a month ago.

Asda announced on Tuesday that it was recalling all corned beef from its budget range after results returned to them yesterday reported traces of veterinary drug phenylbutazone had been found in some batches.

The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that "very low levels" of the painkilling medicine, known as bute, were detected in the Asda Smart Price Corned Beef, but stressed that it was "very unlikely" to cause harm. Customers who have bought the 340g tins, with any date code, have been urged not to eat the corned beef but to return it to the supermarket.

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