Findus and Aldi recall lasagne and beef products after horsemeat discovery
The ongoing investigation into horsemeat in lasagne, burgers and other beef products reveal that the meat came from French company, Comigel.
This follows the mid-January report from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) that a number of beef products on sale in the UK and the Republic of Ireland containing traces of horse and pig DNA.
In one sample from Britain’s largest retailer, Tesco, the level of horse DNA indicated that horse meat was present and accounted for approximately 29% of the total meat content of the burger.
Findus UK undertook a full product withdrawal of their Findus Beef Lasagne on Feb. 4 after the discovery of horsemeat in three sizes of its beef lasagne.
The FSA investigation showed that the meat content of beef lasagne products recalled by Findus has tested positive for more than 60% horse meat. The Findus beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores.
In addition to Findus, Aldi has withdrawn two beef products tonight after its tests found horse meat in samples. The affected products, Today’s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese were withdrawn from stores as a precautionary measure.
Aldi said that its tests demonstrated that the withdrawn products contained between 30% and 100% horse meat. The products implicated are from French supplier, Comigel, the company that also supplied Findus.
According to the Associated Press, Comigel earlier this week had advised Findus — and the store chain Aldi — to remove frozen beef lasagna from store shelves. Supermarket chain Tesco also decided to withdraw its spaghetti bolognese, which was produced by Comigel.
Comigel’s website is currently down due to construction.
The FSA said there’s no evidence yet of a food safety risk, but added that tests have been ordered on the lasagna to see if it contains the veterinary drug phenylbutazone or bute. Animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain because it may pose a risk to human health, the agency added.
The agency says bute is not allowed in the food chain because in humans it can cause rare cases of a serious blood disorder, aplastic anaemia. Because it is not possible to say what triggers the anaemia, it is not possible to identify a safe level of residue in meat.
Bute was banned from use in humans after it was found that about 1 person in 30,000 recipients suffered a serious side effect. But in levels reported in previous FSA testing of contaminated meat, the maximum level found would have to be multiplied a thousand-fold to be at the same level as that which used to be given to humans.
This suggests that even if someone eats contaminated meat, the risk of damage to their health is very low.
The FSA has ordered Findus to test their beef lasagne that contains horse meat for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone. Results are expected within days and will published on the FSA website.
In addition, the companies must conduct authenticity testing on all it’s beef products. These results are required by the FSA by Feb. 15.
The FSA says anyone who has Findus lasagne in their freezer should return it to retailers as a precaution.