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Horse meat in lasagna spurs UK-wide beef tests

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
Horse meat in lasagna spurs UK-wide beef tests
Beef products are displayed in the main meat display case at the King Soopers supermarket in Lakewood, Colorado on June 20, 2012. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

British meat sellers are in the spotlight again with the discovery of horse meat in beef lasagna sold by the frozen food firm Findus, the latest in a series of such 'tainted meat' incidences.

Findus withdrew its lasagna from shelves after testers found between 60 percent and 100 percent horse meat in products labeled beef. The company said it was tipped off by its French supplier, Comigel, about possible problems with the type of meat used, CNN reported.

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Following the discovery the Food Standards Agency has ordered all UK firms to test their beef products by next Friday.

"The FSA is now requiring a more robust response from the food industry in order to demonstrate that the food it sells and serves is what it says it is on the label," said Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA..

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"We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagna, and provide the results to the FSA. The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horse meat," she said

This latest recall comes after British officials suspended purchases earlier this week from a meat supplier after traces of pork were found in halal meat given to Muslim prisoners, and Burger King cut its business with a European company after horse meat was found in its beef hamburgers.

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The Food Safety Authority of Ireland found widespread evidence of horse and pig DNA in hamburger products on grocery shelves in the U.K.

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Although horsemeat is not a safety risk itself--in fact, it is commonly consumed throughout Central Asia, Latin America and in some European cuisines--a veterinary drug called phenylbutazone, or "bute," used to treat horses may be dangerous for human consumption.

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