Now hunt for horsemeat targets chicken and pork
PORK and chicken ready meals are in line to be tested for horsemeat contamination under new protocols.
THE guidelines being drawn up by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) are expected to encompass a wide range of animal products including chicken, pork and beef.
The news comes as authorities in Britain carried out raids on two meat plants, shutting them down temporarily, as part of investigations into the horsemeat scandal.
In a separate development, ministers from seven EU states affected by the controversy gathered in Brussels today for a meeting.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney – the chairman of the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers for the duration of Ireland's presidency of the EU – convened the meeting to try to find a Europe-wide solution to the controversy.
Among those in attendance were Mr Coveney's counterparts from the UK, Sweden, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania.
At the same time, a team of Polish vets were in Ireland carrying out investigations into the presence of horsemeat in frozen burgers.
The source of contamination is believed to have originated from producers in Poland, but the Polish authorities have denied that it came from their country.
The FSAI said it plans to draw up new protocols for testing meat under a regime announced by Mr Coveney this week.
While beef products will be targeted initially, they could "broaden it out" to include other processed meats, the organisation said.
It follows remarks by Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) chief that testing on a wider range of products may have to take place.
"At the moment we are getting them first to focus on 'comminuted' beef, meatballs, spaghetti, beefburgers.
"But there is a real sense from (the) industry that they are thinking about the wider food chain," FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said.
The raids on two meat plants are being seen as a significant escalation in the crisis.
The UK's environment secretary Owen Paterson said: "It's totally unacceptable if any business in the UK is defrauding the public by passing off horsemeat as beef. I expect the full force of the law to be brought down on ... this kind of activity."
Following the discovery of horse meat in Findus, Aldi and Tesco products last week, the scandal became a Europe-wide issue.
Britain's FSA, accompanied by police, swooped on a slaughterhouse and a meat processing plant last night.
Peter Boddy slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire and meat processing plant Farmbox Meats in Aberystwyth, west Wales, had records seized and were temporarily shut down pending the outcome of investigations into claims they supplied and used horse carcasses in burgers and kebabs.