Tests reveal Findus frozen beef lasagnes contain 'up to 100 per cent horsemeat'

Findus, Tesco and Aldi all withdrew a variety of frozen beef products from sale yesterday following new information from a French supplier, Comigel

Findus beef lasagne ready meals were up to 100 per cent made from horse meat, Government food officials have revealed.

Some of the popular frozen meals contained entirely horse and not beef, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) confirmed as it disclosed the latest flagrant breech of food rules.

Shoppers who bought the products, made by the French food supplier Comigel on behalf of Findus, have been warned not to eat them.

While saying there was no evidence the unlabelled meat was unsafe, the FSA has ordered it be tested for traces of an equine drug which is harmful to humans, phenylbutazone, or 'bute'.

Food companies will now be ordered to test their beef products, the FSA said.

It was "highly likely" that criminal activity was to blame for the contamination, the agency added.

After a leak from the meat trade last month, the FSA admitted that meat from eight horses slaughtered in UK abattoirs last year had been found to contain ‘bute’.

The FSA said Findus had tested 18 of its beef lasagne products and found 11 meals containing 60 to 100 per cent horse meat.

Findus withdrew packs of its frozen beef lasagne on Wednesday after apparently receiving an alert from Comigel. Tonight it apologised to customers.

“We do not believe this to be a food safety issue,” said a Findus spokesman. He added: “We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue. Fully compliant beef lasagne will be in stores again soon.

“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

Tesco and Aldi also withdrew a variety of frozen beef products today, saying they did not conform to specification. Aldi said of its frozen spaghetti Bolognese and lasagne (made by Comigel): “Comigel has flagged concerns that the products do not conform to specification.”

Tesco said it was withdrawing its Findus-made frozen spaghetti Bolognese as a “precaution.”

Findus had been advertising on its packs of beef lasagne: “Made with 3 layers of fresh pasta and beef bolognaise topped with béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese”.

The beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores.  The FSA advised anyone who purchased packs not to eat them and return them to the shop where they bought them. 

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, criticised the UK authorities for responding slowly to the concerns that the British meat supply chain is similarly contaminated.

She said: “The Irish Government has called in the police and fraud experts to investigate the horse meat fraud, yet complacent British ministers have not and are asleep on the job.

“The public must have confidence that the food they buy is properly labelled, legal and safe to eat whether it is purchased from a supermarket or in a school canteen.”

But the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the situation was “completely unacceptable” and promised to take action.

He said: “Consumers can be confident that we will take whatever action we consider necessary if we discover evidence of criminality or negligence.“

Ten million beefburgers were last month withdrawn from sale in Ireland the UK last month after tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse meat.

Further tests have shown meat in Ireland and Northern Ireland to be up to 80 per cent horse meat.

The developments came after the supermarket chain Asda withdrew products supplied by a Northern Ireland company which was storing meat found to contain a high proportion of horse DNA.

Newry-based Freeza Meats had been storing the consignment of meat, which was labelled as beef, on behalf of a supplier in the Irish Republic. Two samples were found to contain 80 per cent horse meat.

Asda confirmed that no trace of horse DNA had been found in products made by Freeza Meats, but said it was still temporarily removing its burger range from its stores as a precaution.

The Irish meat-processing industry has been rocked by the horse meat crisis, with a number of suppliers being caught up in the scare. Authorities have pledged to restore the sector's battered image, while police in the Irish Republic have launched an investigation.

Horse meat timeline

January 15

Ireland’s Food Safety Authority reveals beef burgers on sale in Ireland and UK supermarkets, including Tesco and Iceland tested positive for horse DNA. Horsemeat said to account of one third of the burger content. The meat was supplied by two plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and one in the UK, Dalepak Hambleton.

January 16

Tesco takes full page adverts in newspapers apologising to customers and withdraws its Everyday Value range from shelves. Iceland and Aldi also remove burgers from stores.

January 28

After 10million burgers removed from sale in the UK and Ireland, the Irish Government said the meat originated in Poland.

January 31

Burger King finally admits “very small” traces of horse DNA had been found in four samples taken at its Irish supplier, Silvercrest, after giving customers “absolute assurance” its burgers were untainted.

February 5

As a precaution Asda withdraws four frozen burger products supplied by Northern Ireland-based Freeza Meats after a batch of meat is found to contain 80 per cent horse DNA at the firm’s cold store.

February 6

Tesco and Aldi remove frozen beef meals from sale that were made by the French supplier Comigel. Aldi said its supplier had “flagged concern” about its frozen spaghetti Bolognese and lasagne products. Tesco withdraws frozen spaghetti Bolognese as a “precaution”.

The move was prompted by frozen food manufacturer Findus UK withdrawing lasagnes made by Comigel.

News
peopleAlan McGee praises Bob Geldof for eulogy at Peaches' funeral
News
Hard at it: 'We have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy,' wrote John Maynard Keynes. Has he been proved correct?
Campaigners call for 30-hour working week to allow for healthier, fairer society - and more fun
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
newsThe Gherkin to be auctioned off as receivers called in
Life & Style
Posh spice: Norman Musa of Ning restaurant, Manchester
food + drinkPeranakan cuisine looks set to be the next big thing in British dining
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
people... says Canada's fisheries minister
News
people
News
The DNA from the 11 Stone Age skeletons has revealed that the hunter gatherers actually became part of the incoming community of farmers
science
Arts & Entertainment
Home discomforts: (left to right) Viv Albertine, Chris McWatters, Mary Roscoe and Liam Gillick in ‘Exhibition’
tv
Life & Style
Alexander McQueen Ready to Wear A/W 2006
fashionV&A museum to hold critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' retrospective of the late British fashion designer's work
Sport
World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a media workout at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas
sportIn an exclusive interview, Floyd Mayweather says his main concern these days is a legacy that cannot just be calculated in $100 bills
Life & Style
The study is the latest to suggest a possible link between coffee and reduced diabetes risk
health
Life & Style
tech
Life & Style
tech
New Articles
indybestWhether you wear them long, short or ignore them most of the time, curls need some TLC. It’s time to treat those wavy tresses
Voices
Call centres
voices
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agricultural Property Solicitor Bristol

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: We have an excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Air Tightness Technician

£22000 - £25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Air Tight...

Invigilator

£9 per hour: Randstad Education Group: Exam Invigilators - SecondaryRandstad E...

Primary Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Long term position in large p...

Day In a Page

Cornwall is celebrating after being granted minority status - but what of other English counties' claims to independence?

Which English counties should claim independence?

From Berkshire to Yorkshire, our writers go back to their roots...
Campaigners call for 30-hour working week to allow for healthier, fairer society - and more time for fun

Campaigners call for 30-hour working week

They argue it will allow for healthier, fairer society - and more time for fun. Bring it on, says Tom Hodgkinson, editor of 'The Idler'
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The fall of a mighty Austro-Hungarian stronghold

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The fall of a mighty Austro-Hungarian stronghold
Peranakan cuisine looks set to be the next big thing in British dining

Curry without the hurry: Peranakan cuisine

The deliciously complex flavours – and Slow Food ethos – of Peranakan cuisine had Sudi Pigott smitten when she visited Singapore
Alexander McQueen coming home to the V&A museum with critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' exhibition

Alexander McQueen coming home

V&A museum to hold critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' retrospective of the late British fashion designer's work
10 best products for curly hair

10 best products for curly hair

Whether you wear them long, short or ignore them most of the time, curls need some TLC. It’s time to treat those wavy tresses
Floyd Mayweather exclusive interview: ‘I want to be the greatest – but also the smartest’

Floyd Mayweather exclusive interview

‘I want to be the greatest – but also the smartest’
Luis Garcia: Dreaming of a Red double

Luis Garcia: Dreaming of a Red double

Former Liverpool and Atletico midfielder, whose ‘ghost goal’  beat Chelsea in 2005, tells Jack Pitt-Brooke of his hopes for two title triumphs
Scott Redding: Can the Beckham of the bikes make GB roar again?

Scott Redding: Can the Beckham of the bikes make GB roar again?

It is nearly 40 years since Britain had an iconic motorcycling world champion. Now a gifted 21-year-old says he is after title holder and old rival Marc Marquez
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled