Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Horse Meat Found In Tesco Burgers - Every Little Pony Helps

It says 8 per cent more beef on the Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers box, and promises no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours. But what Tesco doesn’t tell you is the pink slimy patties inside are made up of 29 per cent horse meat.

The supermarket chain says it wants to “apologise sincerely” to customers following the discovery of its Shergar burgers from DNA tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). Tesco lists the, err, mane ingredients on the box as 63 per cent Beef, 10 per cent Onion, which I suppose in fairness might actually be the horse’s name, followed by wheat flour, water, and beef fat.

The meat came from Dalepak Hambleton processing plant in Yorkshire, and two plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods. The burgers were sold by Tesco and Iceland in the UK and Ireland. And Lidl, Dunnes Stores, and Aldi supermarkets in Ireland.

Investigators said 27 burger products were analysed - and 10 contained horse DNA and 23 revealed pig DNA. Another 31 beef ready meals, including cottage pie and lasagne, were  tested, and two thirds contained pig DNA.

Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the FSAI, said there was no health risk but also no reasonable explanation for horse meat to be found.

"Whilst there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process," he said.

"In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horse meat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger. Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable."

The FSAI also found traces of horse DNA in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from the Netherlands and Spain.

Horse meat was found in Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers 29.1 per cent; Tesco Beef Quarter Pounders 0.1 per cent; Oakhurst Beef Burgers in Aldi 0.3 per cent; Moordale Quarter Pounders in Lidl 0.1 per cent; Flamehouse Chargrilled Quarter Pounders in Dunnes Stores 0.1 per cent; two varieties of Iceland Quarter Pounders 0.1 per cent.

Retailers said they have now removed the burgers from their shelves and are investigating.

A Tesco spokesman said: "We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again. We will not take any stock from this site until the conclusion and satisfactory resolution of an investigation."

He added: “We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news, and we apologise sincerely for any distress. Our customer service team is standing by to answer any questions customers may have.”

It seems Tesco will resort to anything in its unbridled pursuit of profits, and there must be some very long faces in the press office today, all hoping it won't go on furlong, and sales remain stable etc etc.

From Twitter:

@moanup: Just had a Tesco burger, it's given me the trots."
@HylandIan: Think I might give these Tesco 'smoked paddock fishcakes' a miss.
@karlpweb: "Horsemeat in the burgers? That's a bit rum. A bit red rum to be precise. For shame."
@TheRealJackDee: "Nothing about Tesco surprises me. A burger is like Noah's Ark in a bap."
@feintzebra: "What's the difference between a Tesco burger and a McDonald's burger? A Tesco burger will filly you up."

:: MORE: What's really in your doner kebab?

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