Horse meat still being packaged as beef

The horse meat ‘scandal’ appears to be ongoing, as more of it labelled as beef has been discovered in Lancashire, most of it already bought and presumably eaten by customers shopping for diced beef.

City and county councils have been instigating their own tests following the widely publicized tests back in January by food safety authorities in several countries including the UK.

Last week Lancashire County Council found that 100 kilograms of diced meat, packaged in 1kg bags and labeled as diced beef. About 40 bags of it were sold, and the shop’s proprietor Attila Fabian took some home for his family. They did not notice the difference; Fabian said it looked like beef and it tasted like beef and he was ‘shocked’ to find out that it wasn’t beef.

The unsold portion has been withdrawn from the market, and is being tested for bute, a painkiller commonly used for horses but potentially deadly to humans. However the Food Standards Agency has advised that the threat is very slight, as there has been no bute residue found in horse meat that’s more than a thousandth of an acceptable therapeutic dose for humans.

The meat discovered by the County Council was imported from Hungary by Hungarian Food Ltd and sold at a market stall in Lancashire and at the Taste of Hungary in Liverpool. Hungarian Food Ltd. was dropped as a supplier in July last year; according to Fabian there had been a ‘falling out’.

Investigations have been ongoing in the UK and Europe, ever since the first of the year when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland began serious testing and reported the discovery of horse DNA in more than a third of the samples, and pig DNA in about 85% of them. The original source or sources of mis-labeled products is still in question, but the general opinion so far is that the search by large market chains for cheaper meats has encouraged the rise in adulterated products.