THE INDEPENDENT, THE GUARDIAN, THE DAILY MAIL, BBC (UK)
LONDON – British government food officials have warned the public not to eat frozen beef lasagna sold by the Findus brand after tests showed they contained up to 100% horsemeat.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has ordered all British companies to test their processed beef products by next Friday, after it was revealed that lasagna sold by Findus contained up to 100% horsemeat instead of the advertised beef, reports the Guardian.
Catherine Brown, the FSA's chief executive, told the BBC: "We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagna, and provide the results to the FSA. The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horsemeat.”
The FSA tested 18 beef-based processed Findus lasagna and found that 11 of them contained 60% to 100% horsemeat. It is advising people who have bought any Findus lasagna not to eat them and return them to the shop they bought them from.
Findus’s lasagna, says the BBC, are made by French company Comigel, which also makes frozen products (pizzas, appetizers and ready-made meals) for Tesco, Aldi, Auchan and Cora supermarkets as well as Picard Surgelés and Thiriet frozen foods. As of Friday morning, Comigel’s website was offline:
By Friday, Aldi and Tesco supermarkets were clearing their shelves of frozen spaghetti and lasagna meals produced by Comigel, reports the Guardian.
A Tesco spokesman told the Guardian it took the step as a precaution: "Following the withdrawal of Findus beef lasagne, which is produced by Comigel, we have decided to withdraw our frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese, which is produced at the same site, as a precautionary measure. There is no evidence that our product has been contaminated and the meat used in the Findus product is not used in our product. However, we have decided to withdraw the product pending the results of our own tests."
The FSA is saying there is no evidence the horsemeat lasagna is unsafe, reports the Independent, however it is testing Findus products for an equine drug called phenylbutazone, or “bute,” which can cause cancers in humans and is banned from the human food chain in the EU.
Bute is an anti-inflammatory drug that is given to animals regularly to treat, pain and fever. It is the most commonly used anti-inflammatory in horses, says the Daily Mail and is banned from the human food chain because it can cause cancer.