After a meeting with health ministers from European Union nations, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg gained support for DNA testing of meat products throughout the continent.
“The tests will be on DNA in meat products in all member states,” Borg said after the ministerial meeting in Brussels over Europe’s expanding horsemeat scandal.
The EU health ministers gathered almost one month after the Food Standards Agency of Ireland did DNA tests on meat as part of a routine Quality Assurance program and discovered meat with both horse and pig DNA was labeled as all beef.,
Prior to the emergency meeting of the EU health ministers, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) raided horse slaughter operations in West Yorkshire and West Wales. Both facilities were immediately suspended pending the completion of the investigation.
FSA said it detained all meat and seized paperwork at the two suspended plants.
“I ordered an audit of all horse producing abattoirs in the UK after this issue first arose last month and I was shocked to uncover what appears to be a blatant misleading of consumers,” says Andrew Rhodes, FDA’s director of operations. “I have suspended both plants immediately while our investigations continue.”
UK Environmental Secretary Owen Paterson promised to “bring down the full force of the law” on anyone involved in passing off horsemeat as beef.
From the Brussels meeting of health ministers on Wednesday, the testing plan will next be taken up by the food and animal health experts from all 27 EU counties on Friday. According to the plan, 6,500 beef samples from throughout the EU will undergo DNA testing.
Also, the EU testing plan will check for potentially harmful residues of “Bute” that might exist if horses were given certain pain medicine.© Food Safety News