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Horse meat scandal prompts European summit

Horse meat scandal prompts European summit

European ministers are set to hold a summit in Brussels to discuss imposing tougher regulations on processed meat.

The move comes in light of the horse meat scandal where a number of products were found to contain traces of equine DNA, and a Findus beef lasagne was revealed to be 60 to 100 per cent horse meat. A number of major supermarkets, namely Tesco, have been at the heart of the well-documented issue and it has prompted ministers across Europe to look at more stringent testing processes to ensure that this issue does not continue to persist.

Ireland, which holds the European Union presidency, has called the meeting after suppliers in the country were accused of providing the contaminated meat to retailers in the UK. The nation's agriculture minister Simon Coveney stated that the meeting in the Belgian capital was to ensure that "whatever steps may be necessary at EU level to comprehensively address this matter" were taken.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK has demanded that there is now a much more comprehensive testing process on all meat products that are being sold in the country. The move could also be extended to other types of produce such as chicken and pork to ensure that the problem does not escalate any further.

Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA, told the Daily Telegraph: "At the moment we are getting them first to focus on 'comminuted' beef, meat balls, spaghetti, beef burgers – but there is a real sense from industry that they are thinking about the wider food chain."

Tesco recently admitted that it had been selling frozen spaghetti bolognese ready meals which contained 60 per cent to 100 per cent horse meat. While there is no confirmed risk to humans, the FSA has raised concern over bute, a negative phenylbutazone, which can prove toxic. Experts have said that in rare cases that the anti-inflammatory can cause a serious blood disorder known as aplastic anaemia.

 

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