ALL FOOD businesses have been ordered to conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagne, and provide the results to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) by the end of next week.
This morning the FSA defended its handling of the horse meat scandal in light of some Findus products containing 100% horse meat instead of beef.
Speaking on a number of media outlets this morning, director of operations Andrew Rhodes claimed the FSA has done its job of policing the food industry and was still “actively testing” thousands more products.
However, head of the EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) select committee, Anne McIntosh, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “the FSA are not doing any tests … they’ve asked the retailers [and food companies] to do them”.
The FSA has asked all food businesses to test certain beef products for the presence of horse meat. Chief executive Catherine Brown said in a statement:
“Following our investigations into Findus products, the FSA is now requiring a more robust response from the food industry in order to demonstrate that the food it sells and serves is what it says it is on the label. We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagne, and provide the results to the FSA. The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horse meat.”
The FSA and Findus have maintained that there are no known safety issues currently. However, the food company has been asked to test the products for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or “bute”, which is administered to horses but not allowed into the food chain for health reasons.
There are likely to be two possible explanations for the scandal, said the FSA’s Rhodes, “gross negligence or criminality”.