Horse DNA found in more 'beef'
Beef products sold by Birds Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA in the latest round of tests carried out since the start of the meat scandal, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.
The third round of tests carried out since January revealed contamination of Birds Eye Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagne, Taco Bell's ground beef and Brakes' spicy minced beef skewer, the FSA said.
Ten tests on the four products returned results of more than 1% horse meat, the agency said, and all four have been withdrawn from sale.
US-owned Tex-Mex restaurant chain Taco Bell said that it was "disappointed" to have discovered the horse meat in tests it carried out on beef supplied to its UK restaurants by a sole European supplier.
"We immediately withdrew ground beef from sale in our restaurants, discontinued purchase of that meat, and contacted the Food Standards Agency with this information," it said in a statement. "We would like to apologise to all of our customers."
Birds Eye had already withdrawn the spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and a third ready meal, a shepherd's pie, from sale in Britain and the Republic of Ireland as a precaution after tests found 2% of horse DNA in a chilli con carne dish it sold in Belgium. They are made by the same Belgian manufacturer, Frigilunch NV.
"No other Birds Eye products have tested positive for horse DNA, nor do they share the same supply chains as Frigilunch NV," the company said in a statement. "Going forward we are introducing a new ongoing DNA testing programme that will ensure no minced beef meat product can leave our facilities without first having been cleared by DNA testing."
Brakes, which is based in Ashford, Kent, is the supplier for the House of Commons Catering Service and last month it withdrew its steak and kidney pie, beef and onion pie, steak and kidney suet pudding, and beef Italian meatballs as a precaution.
It also supplies pubs among 19,000 customers who buy around 48,000 cases of products containing beef every week. It too said it was introducing new tests after the discovery, alongside 259 negative tests.
"Brakes and Creative Foods are very disappointed to have been let down by our respective suppliers and have sincerely apologised to our customers. As any responsible company, we have a duty of care to all our customers and the consumers they serve to guarantee the integrity of the products we purchase," the company said.