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FRANCE’S REVENGE: ‘BEEF’ Lasagna Sold in the UK Was 100% HORSEMEAT

Findus has tonight admitted that it has been selling packs of its popular frozen lasagne that were 100 per cent horsemeat.

The news is the first time that it has been confirmed that horsemeat contamination of products sold in the UK has spread beyond beef burgers.

There are concerns that the horse meat used in the lasagne contained the drug bute, which is a known human health risk.

Findus was today unable to say how long horsemeat has been used in its products.

The lasagne packs were manufactured by French company, Comigel, at a plant in Metz, which produces food for supermarkets in Britain and Europe.

Comigel makes a range of beef products for Tesco and Aldi, which have both removed them from shelves as a precautionary measure.

Tesco removed its packs of frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese, whiles Aldi has withdrawn its Today’s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese.

Tests are being carried out on these products, however there is no evidence – to date – that they contain horse meat.

Findus asked supermarkets and corner shops to remove three sizes of beef lasagne – 320g, 360g and 500g – from shelves on Monday.

At the time, it said this was because of what it called a ‘labelling issue’ in what appears to have been a crude attempt to pull the wool over customers’ eyes.

In fact, it has now emerged that these products contained horse meat, which constitutes a crime under labelling laws and will alarm the public.

The revelation raises further questions about whether major food brands have any good idea about what is being put into their products.

Findus said: ‘At Findus UK we are committed to our customers and the quality of our products.

‘Following a thorough investigation, Findus UK can confirm that testing of its beef lasagne, produced by a third party supplier and not by Findus, has revealed some product containing horse meat.

‘As a precautionary measure, on Monday we coordinated a full withdrawal of our affected beef lasagne.

‘We understand this it is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.’

Labour’s Shadow Food and Farming Secretary, Mary Creagh, described the handling of the scandal by the Government as ‘appalling’.

She said the horse meat found in the Findus products has not been tested for the presence of the drug bute, which is a known human health risk.

‘This drug is banned from the human food chain because it can cause aplastic anaemia, which is a type of leukaemia,’ she said.

‘Ministers have been hiding under their desks, rather than getting to grips with this.

‘We have a real crisis of confidence in the meat industry, people do not feel they can trust what it says on the label. This is potentially a disaster for UK supermarkets, manufacturers and farmers.

‘The government’s handling of this has been appalling. Unless they come out on the front foot and show leadership, we won’t have a meat processing industry left.’

The Food Standards Agency(FSA) said the level of horsemeat found in the Findus products ranged from 60 to 100 per cent. It said tests will be carried out for the presence of bute.

A spokesman said: ‘We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk. However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or ‘bute’. Animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain as it may pose a risk to human health.

‘The Findus beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Findus has already begun a full recall of these products.

‘People who have bought any Findus beef lasagne products are advised not to eat them and return them to the shop they bought them from.’

Last night the Food Standards Agency is now demanding a massive sweep of all beef products for the presence of horse meat.

Chief executive, Catherine Brown, said: ‘Following our investigations into Findus products, 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.

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

Bute was banned from use in humans after it was found that about one person in 30,000 recipients suffered a serious side effect. But in levels reported in previous FSA testing of contaminated meat, the maximum level found would have to be multiplied a thousand-fold to be at the same level as that which used to be given to humans.

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  1. The Fly


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  2. JakeGint

    Little known fact– the best spaghetti bolognese is made with tender, new-born burros.


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