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Horse meat discovered in Tesco burgers

DAMNING: Horse meat has been discovered in burgers sold by supermarket giants including Tesco and Iceland it emerged last night.

HORSE MEAT has been discovered in burgers sold by supermarket giants including Tesco and Iceland it emerged last night.

Investigators said that in Tesco's Everyday Value burgers, horsemeat accounted for almost one third of the meat content. It has been reported that in one sample horse meat accounted for around 29 percent.

Tesco group technical director Tim Smith said last night: “We immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question.

“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.”

The products which tested positive were supplied by Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and on UK plant, Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire. All the burgers found with horse meat were sold in Ireland and there were also traces of pig, according to reports.

Tests on beef sold in Lidl, Aldi and Iceland uncovered horse and pork DNA.

The Republic of Ireland's food safety authority (FSAI) claimed meat with "horse DNA" sold in UK and Irish supermarkets had originated from two processing plants in Ireland – Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods – and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in north Yorkshire.

The Food Standards Agency, working with the Irish authorities, established that mainland Britain was part of the area affected. A spokesman said: "At this stage it is not believed to be a food safety risk.

"We are aware that investigations are ongoing to ascertain how or why horsemeat was used in the products."

A total of 27 beef products were analysed by the FSAI with 10 containing horse DNA and a further 23 containing traces of pig DNA.

Professor Alan Reilly, the FSAI chief executive, said there was "no clear explanation" for the presence of horse DNA in beef burgers. "In Ireland it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore we do not expect to find it in a burger."

The Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who sits on the Food, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, said: "Big companies like Iceland and Tesco are responsible for their supply chain and for verifying whether their suppliers are giving them what they should be delivered. It is abhorrent that the suppliers appear to have adulterated the burgers in this way"

Iceland said it had noted the FSAI's findings "with concern". A statement from the chain said it would work with suppliers to investigate the issue. The budget supermarket Aldi confirmed that its Oakhurst Beef Burgers range on sale in Ireland had been affected and had been withdrawn from sale.

Today, supermarket Lidl said it would launch a "full investigation" into the damning findings.

In a statement they said, "Lidl UK is committed to maintaining the highest quality standards across its entire range. Following receipt of the findings of the FSAI study, Lidl has taken the decision to remove the implicated product from sale.

"The relevant authorities have confirmed that this does not cause any health risk whatsoever but this does not detract from the fact that this should not have happened.

"A full investigation is underway to ascertain how this incident occurred. A refund will be provided to customers who wish to return affected products."

This morning it was reported that nearly £300m has been wiped off the value of Tesco following the damning findings.

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