FSA publishes first test results

The Food Standards Agency has published the first set of industry results from beef products that have been tested for the presence of horse DNA.

Out of 2,501 results, 2,472 (almost 99 per cent) were negative for the presence of horse DNA at or above the level of one per cent.

Twenty nine samples, relating to seven products, were positive for the presence of undeclared horse meat at or above a level of one per cent.

At least 950 tests are still in progress

The 29 positive results all relate to seven products that have already been reported and where the food business and the FSA have already taken appropriate action to remove the products from sale and notify consumers.

The FSA said it had been working with trade bodies in the food industry to collate these results as quickly as possible, to get an accurate picture of the testing being carried out across the UK food chain.

Announcing the results, FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown said: ‘Since this incident began on January 16, businesses have been carrying out a large number of tests.

“We said that industry should share those results with us, and the public, and we asked for the first results to be with us today.

“The results so far date from when businesses began their testing four weeks ago.“

“For consumers, it shows that in the vast majority of cases the results so far are showing that no horse DNA is present in the foods tested. But this is still far from the full picture and we expect industry to continue to supply us with regular updates on their testing regime.

“We’ve asked industry to test for horse DNA down to a level of 1 per cent. There are two reasons for this. First, that’s a pragmatic level above which we think any contamination would be due to either gross incompetence or deliberate fraud; it’s not going to be accidental. Second, some laboratories can only test accurately down to a level of 1 per cent.”

‘Further results are expected over the coming weeks and the FSA will publish another update this time next week.”