Horsemeat scandal report: Force supermarkets to do DNA tests on meat, say MPs
Regular checks could help avoid another scandal over horse in ‘beef’ products
Large retailers should be made to carry out regular DNA tests on all the meat products that they sell to ensure their food contains the ingredients they advertise, a committee of MPs concluded on Monday.
In its report into the recent horsemeat scandal, the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said supermarkets should be forced to report their findings to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) with a summary published on the retailer’s website.
It added that the cost of the additional testing should be borne by retailers and not passed on to consumers. The MPs also condemned the slow pace of the investigation into the horsemeat scandal, with no prosecutions six months after the problem was first revealed.
They said that the Government should consider reversing changes made in 2010 that brought the FSA back within Government control – suggesting that this might have hampered its efforts to get on top of the issue.
The MPs acknowledged horse meat contamination was limited to a “relatively small” number of beef products sold in the UK, with 99 per cent of those tested containing no horse DNA.
Across the EU as a whole, 4.66 per cent of products tested were found to contain more than 1 per cent horse DNA. But it expressed “surprise” that in EU-mandated tests, 14 out of 836 samples of horsemeat from the UK tested positive for the painkiller bute – the highest number of positive tests in the EU.
The committee said there were clearly “many loopholes” in the system of horse passports and called for assurances that horse movements within the UK and between the UK and Ireland were being properly monitored.
“Retailers have a clear responsibility to ensure the products they sell are accurately labelled,” they concluded. “While some retailers may have been misled, those serving large sectors of the market need to ‘up their game’ and verify with greater accuracy the assurances of their suppliers. There must be regular, detailed tests on all meat or meat-based ingredients which form part of a processed meat product.”
They added that while they welcomed the commitment of some supermarkets to carry out DNA tests on meat products, this needs to be made mandatory. “We recommend that this be made compulsory for large food retailers, with appropriate penalties imposed for those who fail to do so,” they said.
The committee’s chair, Anne McIntosh, said the evidence they had seen suggested there had been a complex network of companies trading in and mislabelling beef or beef products which she described as “fraudulent and illegal”.
“Although the fraud proved not as extensive as originally feared, it has reduced consumer confidence in frozen and processed meats,” she said.
“Retailers and meat processors should be more vigilant against the risk of deliberate adulteration. Regular and detailed DNA tests are needed on all meat or meat-based ingredients which form part of a processed or frozen meat product. Consumers need to know that what they buy is what the label says it is.”
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...