By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:
Friday 08 February 2013
The national horse meat scandal cantered on today as Unison highlighted cuts to inspections and Britain’s consumer watchdog alleged “highly likely” organised crime.
The Food Standards Authority said it was ordering a swathe of food manufacturers to test DNA in their beef products after examiners found some Findus-brand lasagne was almost entirely horse.
Irish inspectors found that of 18 Findus samples, 11 contained between 60 to 100 per cent horse meat.
The authority’s chief executive Catherine Brown told reporters: “I have to say that the two cases of gross contamination that we see here indicates that it is highly likely there has been criminal and fraudulent activity involved.”
But the Unison union representing inspectors blamed the industry itself, saying dodgy beef burgers were not the only toxic cuts.
The number of analysts has dropped by two-thirds since 2000 to just 32 people, while independent inspections fell by 29 per cent between 2008 to 2010 – with the industry given even more leeway following the Con-Dems‘ “bonfire of the quangos.”
National officer Ben Priestley also said most of the mislabelled horse meat has been found in “budget” food, targeted at the poorest members of our society.
“It is a scandal that the safety of people, whose choice is limited by their income, has come second to the private profit.”
He also said the authority’s cuts to inspectors’ pay and pensions announced this week were the last straw.
“The attack on food inspectors’ pay, at a time when their work has never been more needed, is poorly timed in the extreme and astonishingly insensitive.”
Update October 2013: here.
- Meat industry under scrutiny as horsemeat scandal spreads (cnn.com)
- You: Horsemeat scandal now across Europe (edition.cnn.com)
- Top News: Horsemeat scandal blamed on international fraud by criminals (guardian.co.uk)
- Findus knew a week ago that meals contained horse meat (telegraph.co.uk)
- Cameron condemns ‘shocking’ horse meat scandal (abc.net.au)
- ‘Highly likely’ horsemeat contamination was due to ‘criminal activity’ says Food … – The Independent (independent.co.uk)