June 25, 2018

Food Safety Authority of Ireland Finds Horse Meat in Beef Burger Products

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has found horse DNA in some beef burger, beef meal, and salami products available for sale in that country. This raises concerns about traceability of ingredients entering the food chain as well as concerns about accurate food labeling.

Scientists analyzed 27 beef burger products. Ten of them, or 37%, tested positive for horse DNA, and twenty-three, or 85%, tested positive for pig DNA. Traces of horse DNA were detected in batches of raw ingredients. In one sample from beef purchased from Tesco, 29% of the burger product was made of horse meat.

Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of FSAI said that “the products we have identified as containing horse DNA and/or pig DNA do not pose any food safety risk and consumers should not be worried. But there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products coming from plants that do not use horse meat.”

Burger King in the UK has been caught in this scandal. Officials admitted that the burgers it sold were tainted with horse meat, according to The Guardian. In its final update on the investigation, the FSAI stated that meat imported from Poland, used as raw material for the production of burgers at the Silvercrest plant in Ireland, tested positive for horse DNA. The amount of horse DNA in the raw material was “significant”, according to the update.

This scandal may lead to supermarkets and other retail outlets conducting DNA testing on their food products. In fact, one Labour spokesperson said, “the major supermarkets and processors have a duty to their customers to DNA-check all value-meat products to restore confidence in the supply chain, which has been badly damaged by this scandal.”

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