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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning