(Medical Xpress)—The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has found evidence of horsemeat in ground meat marketed as beef (meat from cows) and sold in grocery stores in Ireland and the UK. The agency stressed that the findings pose no health risk, but does call into question how well regulations regarding meat processing are being observed in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
After analyzing 27 products purchased from grocery stores, the FSAI reported finding horse DNA in 10 of them (23 of them also contained pig DNA). They added that in one sample they found horsemeat made up 27% of the sample. Finding pig DNA in the meat was not a surprise as cows and pig are quite often processed out of the same facilities. Evidence of horsemeat on the other hand was completely unexpected and the fact that it's been found is likely to cause a considerable degree of consternation among buyers who find horsemeat completely unacceptable as a food source. In addition to personal preferences, some religions prohibit the eating of horsemeat and thus consumers who have been eating what they thought was pure beef, must now deal with the realization that they have been eating both pig and horsemeat.
Burger with horsemeat in it was found in samples that came from Tesco, one of Europe's largest grocery chains, Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi. All of them have removed the brands in question from their shelves and have issued statements assuring consumers that they will get to the bottom of the problem and take steps to insure it doesn't happen again. FSAI chief executive Professor Alan Reilly told reporters that the agency's findings do not indicate a health risk. He also noted that there is no plausible reason for horsemeat showing up in burgermeat, which suggests that it was put there intentionally by some unknown persons or organization.
All of the meat that showed the presence of horse DNA came from just two processing plants, the FSAI says, both based in Ireland: Liffey Meats and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire. At this time it's not been made public what measures the government of Ireland will take against the processing plants or those responsible, if caught, for adding horsemeat to burger.
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