The Food Safety Authority (FSAI) has published the findings of a study examining the authenticity of a number of beef burger, beef meal and salami products available from retails outlets in Ireland. The Study tested for the presence of horse DNA and revealed the presence of horse DNA in some beef burger products. The authority has stated that this raises concerns in relation to the traceability of meat ingredients entering the food chain.
A total of 27 beef burger products were analysed with 10 of the 27 products (37%) testing positive for horse DNA and 23 (85%) testing positive for pig DNA. In addition, 31 beef meal products (cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne etc were analysed which showed 21 were positive for pig DNA and all were negative for horse DNA. All 19 salami products analysed tested negative for horse DNA. Traces of horse DNA were also detected in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from the Netherlands and Spain.
The beef burger products which tested positive for horse DNA were produced by 2 processing plants Liffey Meats and Silver Crest Foods and one plant in the UK. They were on sale in Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland. In 9 of the 10 beef burger samples from these retailers, horse DNA was found at very low levels. However, in one sample from Tesco the level of horse DNA indicated that horse meat accounted for approximately 29% relative to the beef content. The Authority is working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Processing plants and retailers involved. The Retailers have removed all implicated batches from sale.
Speaking about the findings of the FSAI study Liam Moloney, Healthcare Solicitor said today “the findings of the study pose no risk to public health but have raised some concerns about traceability of food production. Consumers can be reassured that purchasing and consuming the implicated products will cause no harm to their health”.
Mr Moloney added “any consumer who has purchased these products would be entitled to a full refund of the purchase price. If any consumer has suffered ill health from consuming horse meat contained in these beef burgers they would be entitled to claim compensation”.