EU demands DNA testing for horsemeat

EU demands DNA testing for horsemeat

The EU has announced that it wants all member states to introduce DNA tests on processed beef for traces of horsemeat from 1st March.

The random testing would take place over a three month period and would also search for evidence of phenylbutazone. Also known as “bute” the FSA will announce the results of testing for the equine drug later today following an examination of horses slaughtered in the UK.

EU health commissioner, Tonio Borg told ministers in Brussels yesterday that the first reports would be expected after 30 days.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson welcomed the move, saying: “It is completely wrong that consumers are being presented with a product marked beef and found it contained horse.”

There has been wide-spread criticism of the Government and the FSA’s handling of the scandal. Chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Anne McIntosh told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The FSA – we were told by the farming minister David Heath – is the police force in this regard, of applying food standards.

“It is surprising to learn that they can request testing by producers to be performed, but they don’t currently have the powers to require testing to be performed. That would be one change that we would welcome.”

This news comes after the Foods Standards Agency and police raided two meat plants earlier this week, one in West Yorkshire and one in Wales, suspending operations at both. Further tests may now be carried out at both plants.

The Agency says it believes Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire supplied horse carcases to Farmbox Meats Ltd., in Aberystwyth. All meat at the companies has been detained and paperwork seized, including customer lists from the two businesses.

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