Jan 24 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
AN MP has called for an investigation into the presence of horse meat in hamburgers in several UK supermarkets.
Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North and member of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, is concerned about the presence of horse meat and traces of pig discovered in beef products in some supermarkets, including Tesco.
He said the issue raises serious questions of ‘fraud, misrepresentation and incompetence’ within the food supply industry.
Mr Gardiner said: “Big companies like Iceland and Tesco are responsible for their supply chain and for verifying whether their suppliers are giving them what should be delivered. It is abhorrent that the suppliers appear to have adulterated burgers in this way, but these big companies’ have buyers who should be familiar with their supply chain and have a responsibility to the public.
“What is on the label should be what you get. A beef burger should not be a horse burger. Most people would be horrified to find they have been eating horse.”
Tim Smith, group technical director at Tesco said: “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.
“We will not take any products from this site until the conclusion and satisfactory resolution of an investigation. The relevant authorities have said that these findings pose no risk to public health.
“We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news, and we apologise sincerely for any distress. ”
A spokesperson for Iceland said: “Iceland will be working closely with its suppliers to investigate this issue and to ensure that all Iceland brand products meet the high standards of quality and integrity that we specify and which our customers are entitled to expect.”
The environment, food and rural affairs committee will take evidence from the Food Standards Agency and Defra minister on the contamination of beef products on Wednesday, January 30.
The session is intended to focus on the effectiveness of traceability, labelling and hygiene standards in the food supply chain and the role of government, food processors and retailers; and responsibility for food safety and port entry controls of meat imports.