The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have criticised food producers, retailers and caterers for allowing horsemeat to be used in a number of products. They add that all involved are “concerned”.
This comes after an investigation into a lasagne dish made by Findus, which supposedly contained beef, was actually made up of 60-100% horsemeat.
“The presence of unauthorised ingredients cannot be tolerated. This is especially true when those ingredients are likely to be unacceptable to consumers, or where there is any conceivable risk to human health”, said environment secretary Owen Paterson.
“The responsibility for the safety and authenticity of food lies with those who produce it, and who sell or provide it to the final consumer. I know that food producers, retailers and caterers are as concerned as we are at the course of recent events.”
The FSA has begun an investigation into the incidents, which came to light last month when burgers sold by Tesco were found to contain significant quantities of horsemeat. Suppliers in Ireland and France have been targeted as the source of the scandal.
“The evidence we have about the two cases, of the significant amount of horsemeat in burgers and lasagne, points to either gross negligence or deliberate contamination in the food chain”, the FSA said in a statement.
“This is why we have already involved the police, both here and in Europe.”