independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Horse DNA found in burgers being sold in Spain

THE horsemeat scandal widened further as horse DNA was discovered in Spanish burgers.

And the EU also confirmed that the sale of burgers made in Ireland containing horsemeat breaches labelling law because the ingredient was not listed on the packaging.

Separate tests carried out by a consumer group discovered horse DNA in two beef burger products sold in Spain.

The burgers were sold by supermarket chains Eroski and AhorraMas SA, who did not comment on the findings.

Only five out of the 20 products analysed in their study offered meat with an acceptable level of quality, with some containing high levels of salt, fat and additives, said Spanish consumer body OCU yesterday.

The burgers sold by Eroski and AhorraMas contained horse DNA without indicating it on their labels.

"Results clearly show that consumers are being deceived because burgers sold have labels that don't indicate the real ingredients," OCU said in the report.

Deceit

"It is not a problem of food security, but it is a deceit to the consumer."

The discovery comes as the authorities in Poland also begin a probe into how meat trimmings exported from a plant there came to contain up to 20pc horsemeat.

At the weekend, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney pinpointed this ingredient as the source of horsemeat contamination of burgers produced in Ireland at the ABP Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan, which led to 10 million burgers being withdrawn from sale.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said the authorities in Poland had been notified of the outcome of the Irish investigation into horse DNA on Saturday evening, but their own investigation would probably take some time.

Meanwhile, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg clarified the legal position regarding labelling of the burgers in a letter to Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness.

"Labelling of meat products containing horsemeat or horse protein used for their preparation is not in line with the EU food labelling legislation if the presence of such proteins is not mentioned in the list of ingredients," he wrote.

However, the Department of Agriculture said it was not looking at taking a prosecution as the source of the contamination had been traced to Poland and authorities there were now investigating the matter.

Irish Independent

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