Now it’s DONKEY burgers: Fears other animals could have been passed off as beef
A law banning horse-drawn vehicles from Romanian roads could have to led to a surge in illegal meats, it was claimed
The horse meat scandal deepened today amid claims some food sold in supermarkets may have contained DONKEY.
A law banning horse-drawn vehicles from Romanian roads could have to led to a surge in illegal meats, it was claimed.
Veteran campaigner and MEP Jose Bove said some of the meat which has turned up Britain, France and Sweden could turn out to be donkey.
“Horses have been banned from Romanian roads and millions of animals have been sent to the slaughterhouse,” he said.
The startling revelation came as fresh tests revealed Tesco’s own-brand budget pasta ready meals were up to 100% horse meat.
Britain’s biggest grocer scrapped tens of thousands of frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese dishes amid fears that the food had been contaminated.
And boss Tim Smith announced the firm had now dumped shamed French supplier Comigel, the firm at the heart of the scandal.
Donkey meat is regarded as a delicacy in Italy.
In 2011 more than 6,779 tons was shipped abroad for processing.
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta today blasted suggestions his country was to blame.
He said: “From all the data we have at the moment, there is no breach of European rules committed by companies from Romania.”
Meanwhile, Tesco confirmed that almost all of the 23 tests on its Comigel-made products were positive for horse DNA but three fell in the highest band of up to 100% horse.
It is a bitter blow to the supermarket giant which now joins frozen food firm Findus and discount store Aldi in the worst case of contamination Britain has seen.
Mr Smith, group technical director, said in a statement: “Of the positive results, most are at a trace level of less than 1% but three showed significant levels of horse DNA, exceeding 60%.
“The frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese should contain only Irish beef from our approved suppliers.
“The source of the horsemeat is still under investigation by the relevant authorities.”
Tesco, along with every UK supermarket and ready meal maker, is now testing all beef mince products from burgers to pies and pasta dishes.
Results of tests will be handed over to the Food Standards Agency on Friday.
Both Findus Beef Lasagne and Aldi’s Today’s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese were found to contain up to 100% horse.
Since then the scandal has seen a paper trail spread from Ireland to Poland and from the UK to France, Poland and Romania, with all the authorities denying responsibility.
It is feared thousands of horses may have been slaughtered to provide meat for British supermarkets.
Labour said that 70,000 horses in Northern Ireland remained unaccounted for, raising fears they could have been butchered.
The allegation came as blundering Food Secretary Owen Paterson was slapped down for failing to get a grip on the crisis.
He faced questions today on why he had taken so long to demand schools and hospitals check for contamination.
Furious Labour spokeswoman Mary Creagh branded his response a “disgrace” when consumer confidence was “sinking like a stone”.
Mr Paterson told MPs it was “unacceptable” but insisted products posed no health risk