September 26, 2020

Iglo and Birds Eye Pull Meals After Finding Horse Meat

LONDON — Another big food producer was ensnared in the scandal over horse meat in beef products Friday when the company that owns the Iglo and Birds Eye brands withdrew a dozen types of prepared meals from stores in four European countries.

Iglo Foods Group, the parent company, said it took the action after a chili con carne dish, produced by a Belgian company called Frigilunch and on sale in Belgium, was found to contain about 2 percent horse meat.

“As a precautionary measure, we will withdraw all other beef products produced for us by Frigilunch,” Iglo Foods said. “Whilst this is not a food safety issue, it is clearly unacceptable.”

In addition to the chili con carne, seven more Iglo products were removed from Belgian supermarkets, and one from stores in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, three Birds Eye meals — spaghetti Bolognese, shepherd’s pie and lasagne — were withdrawn in Britain and Ireland.

The announcement came as the Food Standards Agency in Britain released updated figures for tests conducted by the food industry in that country, showing that just 1 percent of beef products sampled contained 1 percent or more of horse meat.

But as the scandal continues, more instances of horse meat disguised as beef are surfacing. The Irish government said Friday that officials had closed a meat processor in Carrick-on-Suir, BF Meats, after discovering that the company had shipped horse meat labeled as beef to the Czech Republic.

With food suppliers and regulators stepping up their monitoring, new cases of beef products tainted with horse meat, which is significantly less expensive than beef, are being found almost every day. About a dozen European countries have been touched by the scandal.

This past week, Nestlé, one of the best-known food companies in the world, said it was removing pasta meals from store shelves in Italy and Spain. Already most of the big supermarket chains in Britain have withdrawn products, including millions of hamburgers.

In Britain there is growing concern about the contents of school meals. On Friday, local governments in Scotland were urged by the procurement agency, Scotland Excel, “not to use any current stocks they hold of frozen beef products, including frozen beef mince, or order any new stocks, until the outcome of further, detailed investigations.”

That announcement followed the discovery of traces of horse DNA in a frozen burger taken from a school kitchen in North Lanarkshire.

There was more reassuring news Friday from the Food Standards Agency, which said it had now received 3,634 test results from manufacturers, retailers, caterers and wholesalers. These results showed an additional six products containing horse DNA since the first set of industry tests was announced last week.

Over all, the agency said, “35 results, representing 13 products, contained horse DNA at or above the 1 percent threshold. These products have already been named and withdrawn from sale.”

While the horse meat crisis has revolved around issues of fraud and mislabeling, there are worries that a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone, or bute, may have entered the food chain.

Eight horses slaughtered for food in Britain tested positive for the drug, according to reports this month. Six of those carcasses had already been exported to France for human consumption.

But the Food Standards Agency said Friday that tests on samples containing horse DNA so far had not found traces of phenylbutazone.

“The overwhelming majority of results, over 99 percent, have come back negative for the presence of horse DNA above the threshold of 1 percent, which is reassuring for consumers,” said Catherine Brown, the agency’s chief executive. She said the agency’s work “is far from done,” with other testing being carried out by the local authorities on behalf of the agency already “well under way.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/business/global/23iht-horse23.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Nestlé Removes 2 Products in Horse Meat Scandal

Nestlé said late Monday that it would remove two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini, from Italian and Spanish supermarket shelves immediately. Meanwhile, Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product made for the catering trade in France, will also be withdrawn and replaced with a product containing meat made from 100 percent beef.

The company added that it had increased testing after the discovery of horse meat in British foods and “traces” of horse DNA in two products made with beef supplied by a German company,  H. J. Schypke.The levels exceeded the threshold used by the British Food Standards Agency in testing to indicate that a substance had been adulterated, so the products would be withdrawn from the market, Nestlé said.

‘‘There is no food safety issue, but the mislabeling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us,’’ Nestlé added.

The involvement of Nestlé, based in Switzerland, is another significant act in a fast-moving drama that is prompting Europeans to question the contents of their meals.

Nestlé knows only too well the importance of image, having once been the object of a boycott after being embroiled in a controversy over the marketing of baby milk in developing countries.

In a statement, the company said that it did not use any meat from Europe for its food sold in the United States. “We have also requested and received confirmation from all our meat suppliers that they do not provide Nestlé USA with any meat from the affected countries and companies,” the company said.

Although the horse meat crisis has been seen mainly as an issue of fraud and mislabeling, it emerged last week that a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone, or bute, may have entered the food chain. Eight horses slaughtered for food in Britain tested positive for the drug. Six of those carcasses had already been exported to France for use in human food.

In Britain, food manufacturers have embarked on a widespread program of tests to try to stem a crisis of confidence in products originating in a long and bewilderingly complex supply chain.

Last Friday, the British Food Standards Agency released the results of 2,501 tests conducted on beef products by the British food industry, of which 29 contained more than 1 percent horse meat, its threshold for adulteration.But, just as that information was released, it emerged that food intended for school meals had also contained horse meat, and a blame game erupted over who was responsible.

On Tuesday, the British Food Standards Agency announced a big expansion of its own testing program, conducted by local authority food inspectors, so that a total of 514 products would be sampled. These will now include some canned products and items like gelatine, beef dripping and stock cubes, the agency said in a statement.

The European Union has also announced an increase in food testing, and there have been growing calls for more regulation from Brussels.

Though tough traceability rules for fresh beef products were introduced after the crisis over mad cow disease more than a decade ago, a similar regime is not in place for processed food.

‘‘What has been discovered in recent days is large-scale fraud,’’ said Richard Seeber, the coordinator for the center-right group in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament. ‘‘This is a clear breach of current European food labeling rules. This is why the first thing we need is more controls and better enforcement of the existing rules.’’

Glenis Willmott, the leader of the British Labour Party’s delegation to the European Parliament, said the response of the bloc’s executive, the European Commission, had been inadequate.‘‘The horse meat scandal should result in a Europe-wide comprehensive legislation on ‘origin labeling’ for all meat in processed foods, and a better E.U. enforcement procedure,’’  Ms. Willmott said.

Katie Thomas contributed reporting from New York.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/world/europe/nestle-pulls-2-products-in-horse-meat-scandal.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Nestlé Pulls 2 Products in Horse Meat Scandal

Before the announcement late Monday, the crisis had already spread, with perhaps a dozen countries caught up in product recalls, but the involvement of Nestlé marks another significant act in a fast-moving drama which is forcing Europeans to question the contents of their meals.

Nestlé, which is based in Switzerland, said it had increased testing after the discoveries of horse meat in British foods and found “traces” of horse DNA in two products made with beef supplied by a German company named as H.J. Schypke.

The levels were above the 1 percent threshold used by the British Food Standards Agency  as an indicator of adulteration in testing being conducted by Britain’s food industry and therefore the products would be withdrawn, Nestlé said in a statement.

“There is no food safety issue, but the mislabeling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us,” Nestlé added.

Two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini are being taken off supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain immediately. Meanwhile, Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen meat product made for the catering trade in France, will also be withdrawn and replaced with product made from 100 percent beef.

Nestlé knows only too well the importance of its brand image, having once been the object of a boycott after being embroiled in a controversy over the marketing of baby milk in developing countries.

Although the current horse meat crisis has been seen mainly as an issue of fraud and mislabeling it emerged last week that a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone – or bute – may have entered the food chain.

Eight horses slaughtered for food in Britain tested positive for the drug. Six of those carcasses had already been exported to France for use in human food.

In Britain, food manufacturers have embarked on a huge program of tests of food to try to stem a crisis of confidence in products originating in a long and bewilderingly complex supply  chain.

Last Friday, the British Food Standards Agency released the results of 2,501 tests conducted on beef products by the British food industry, of which 29 contained more than 1 percent horse meat.

But, just as that information was released, it emerged separately that food intended for school meals had also contained horse meat and a blame game has erupted between politicians and supermarket bosses over where responsibility ultimately lies.

The European Union has also announced an increase in food testing though there are growing calls for more regulation at a European level. Though tough traceability rules for fresh beef products were introduced after the crisis over mad cow disease more than a decade ago, a similar regime is not in place for processed food.

“What has been discovered in recent days is large-scale fraud,”  said Richard Seeber, the coordinator for the center-right group  in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament. “This is a clear breach of current European food labeling rules. This is why the first thing we need is more controls and better enforcement of the existing rules.”

Glenis Willmott, the leader of the British Labour Party’s members of the European Parliament, said that the response of the E.U.’s executive, the European Commission, had been totally inadequate.

“The horse meat scandal should result in a Europe-wide comprehensive legislation on ‘origin labeling’ for all meat in processed foods, and a better E.U. enforcement procedure,” Ms. Willmott said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/world/europe/nestle-pulls-2-products-in-horse-meat-scandal.html?partner=rss&emc=rss