Imagine the shock of discovering that the beef lasagne you’ve eaten might not be beef at all, but instead was horse meat. Sounds disgusting, right?
But that’s the reality for some who consumed the frozen beef lasagne from European food company Findus after tests by the British Food Standards Agency revealed the product contained up to 100 percent horse meat.
The frozen meals have since been removed from supermarket freezers, and Scotland Yard is investigating the case as a criminal matter.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says information so far “points either to gross negligence or deliberate contamination in the food chain” and David Heath, the food and farming minister has said there is “every probability” criminality was involved.
The Met confirmed on Friday that it has met with the FSA. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, is holding an emergency meeting with heads of meat retailers and suppliers in London on Saturday. “I fear it may be a conspiracy with international implications,” he said.
...The investigations into possible criminality are thought to involve not only what has happened at factories and slaughterhouses but the wider pan-European horse trade. Animal welfare charities have long warned that lack of supervision in the transport of live animals has meant there is illegal activity.
As David Cameron indicated that he would have no qualms about eating the sort of processed meat dishes that have been at the heart of the recent food scare, authorities insisted there was no evidence that frozen food in general was a risk to human health. But the FSA advised consumers who have bought affected beef lines from Findus not to eat them. They had not been tested for the presence of the veterinary medicine commonly used to treat horses, phenylbutazone, which is banned in the human food chain. It can cause a serious blood disorder in rare cases.