UK Taco Bell beef tests positive for horse meat

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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LONDON – Traces of horse meat were found in Taco Bell and some Birds Eye products, the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency reported March 1.

The FSA said horse DNA was found in ground beef sold by the fast food chain in Britain and in Birds Eye brand spaghetti Bolognese, beef lasagna. Spicy minced beef skewers manufactured by Brakes, a catering supplier, also tested positive for horse DNA, according to FSA. Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, has only three restaurants in Britain.

The FSA said the agency so far has received 5,430 test results, which includes more than 1,700 results published March 1. More than 99 percent of tests show no horse DNA at or above the level of 1 percent. The products sold by Taco Bell, Birds Eye and Brakes were covered by 10 results that show horse DNA at or above the 1 percent threshold, the agency said. There are currently 17 products confirmed as having more than 1 percent of horse DNA.

"The FSA focus continues to be on gross contamination of beef products with horse meat, that is, where there is more than 1 percent horse DNA detected in a product," FSA said in a statement. "The Agency believes that such levels of horse DNA indicate either gross negligence or deliberate substitution of one meat for another.

"Results have now been received from a range of manufacturers, retailers, caterers, restaurants and wholesalers throughout the UK. The initial phase of testing by industry is almost complete."

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