LONDON – Findus UK recalled its private-label beef lasagna after test results showed the product is more than 60 percent horsemeat, according to the Food Standards Agency. The finding came after it was revealed that horse and pig DNA had been found in frozen hamburgers.
The company said its French supplier, Comigel, raised concerns about the type of meat used in the lasagna. The FSA said there is no evidence of a food safety risk, however, the FSA ordered Findus to test the lasagna for phenylbutazone, or 'bute'. Animals treated with phenylbutazone are prohibited from the food chain on concerns the veterinary drug may pose a risk to human health.
UK food safety officials have ordered tests on all beef products following the discovery.
“This is a very serious issue," the agency said in a statement. "The evidence we have about the two cases, of the significant amount of horse meat in burgers and lasagna, points to either gross negligence or deliberate contamination in the food chain. This is why we have already involved the police, both here and in Europe.
“We believe that these two particular cases — the frozen burgers from Tesco and the lasagna from Findus - are linked to suppliers in Ireland and France respectively. We are working closely with the authorities in these countries to get to the root of the problem.”
In response to consumer concerns about the safety of any frozen meat products, the agency added that it has no reason to suspect food safety problems with frozen food in general.
The lasagna also had been sold in Ireland, according to food safety authorities in Dublin. The agency urged consumers not to eat the product and return them to the store.