The Food Standards Agency is widening its search for traces of horse meat in processed meat products with a further series of tests, it has been announced.
The 364 samples which have been tested already, or are undergoing tests, will be expanded with another 150 food samples, of items from stewing steak to stock cubes, being checked for horse DNA as part of an EU control programme.
Work on the new series will begin next week, the FSA said.
Earlier Nestlé – the world’s biggest food company – confirmed that one of its suppliers involved in a product recall in Europe after traces of horse meat were found did not supply stock sold in the UK.
Meanwhile, a leading supermarket chief was forced to apologise after suggesting that DNA testing for horse meat on behalf of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had been carried out in unaccredited laboratories.
Malcolm Walker, chief executive of the frozen foods supermarket chain Iceland, said he was deeply sorry if he had caused offence with remarks he made to the BBC’s Panorama. Mr Walker had been asked to explain why Iceland burgers passed British tests for equine DNA but failed the Irish tests. He replied: “Well, that’s the Irish, isn’t it?”
The House of Commons has withdrawn four beef products from its catering outlets while tests are carried out. A spokesman said: "Tests on two of the four items have been completed; both tests have concluded negative for equine DNA."