The Food Standards Authority has announced that 11 of 18 tested beef lasagne products made by Findus have been found to contain between 60 and 100% horse meat.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced that 11 of 18 tested beef lasagne products made by food manufacturer Findus have been found to contain between 60 and 100% horse meat as it continues its investigations into the authenticity of processed meat products.

Tests on 18 beef lasagne products made by Findus found that 11 contained between 60 and 100 per cent horse meat.The agency said the lasagnes – made by French company Comigel – should not pose a threat to food safety. Nonetheless, it has ordered the food manufacturer to carry out tests on the products to ensure they do not contain the NSAID phenylbutazone – commonly known as “bute” – which may pose a risk to human health.

Findus says it has recalled all of the affected products and has apologised to customers, while the FSA has advised customers against eating any purchased lasagnes and to return them to the shop they were purchased from.

The discovery follows the FSA’s reminder to vets that they have “legal responsibilities” in preventing horses treated with medicines such as bute from entering the food chain.

The FSA’s chief executive Catherine Brown and CVO Nigel Gibbens warned the profession that, should bute be positively identified in any horse destined for the food chain, the responsible person would be “called to account“.

Investigations into the authenticity of processed meat products by the FSA, DEFRA and local authorities have been ongoing since the Food Standards Authority of Ireland discovered both horse and pig DNA in frozen beef burgers sold in the UK and Ireland.

Other supermarkets including Aldi and Tesco, who also had to withdraw their frozen beef burger ranges earlier this year, have removed products made by Comigel from the shelves as a “precaution“.

The FSA has said it is “highly likely” that criminal activity is to blame for the high levels of contamination.

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