Horse-for-beef scandal: Asda withdraws fresh meat products

Downing Street says supermarkets need to 'reassure the public' as horse meat scandal widens

LAST UPDATED AT 10:56 ON Fri 15 Feb 2013

THE CONTAMINATED meat scandal has deepened, with traces of horsemeat discovered in a fresh beef product for the first time, more than a month after reports of food fraud first surfaced. The latest developments are:

Fresh beef contaminated. Asda has withdrawn its 'Chosen By You' 350g fresh beef Bolognese sauce from stores after tests found traces of horse DNA. Until now, only frozen meals have been affected. As a precaution, the supermarket withdrew three other products from Bristol based supplier, Greencore: a beef broth soup, 'meat feast' pasta sauce and chilli con carne soup.

Pressure on retailers from Number 10. David Cameron is said to be increasingly concerned as retailers remain silent about the scandal. The Daily Telegraph quotes a senior Downing St source questioning why supermarkets and food suppliers have had nothing to say on reports of food fraud.

"The supermarkets need to justify their actions and reassure the public," the source said. The industry is about to reveal the results of 1,000 tests carried out on products stocked by 13 different retailers, expected to show the scandal is even more widespread than previously thought.

French company to blame? The French government has announced wholesaler Spanghero is the likely source of horsemeat found in Findus frozen lasagne, The Independent notes. Consumer minister Benoît Hamon accused the company of "fraud for economic gain" in tricking Comigel, which makes frozen meals for Findus and other European brands, into buying Romanian horsemeat.

According to French ministers, Spanghero passed off 750 tons of horse meat as beef over six months. The company, based in the south of France, denies the allegations but its operations have been suspended by the government.

British arrests. Thursday saw the first arrests over the scandal. At the Farmbox Meats factory near Aberystwyth, Wales, 64-year-old owner Dafydd Raw-Rees was taken into custody with a second unnamed 42-year-old man. An unnamed 63-year-old man at the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, was also arrested. All three are being questioned on suspicion of fraud.

The arrests came after reports the owner of the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse had a contract with Aintree, the home of the grand national, to dispose of race horses put down or fatally injured on the course. Two days ago, an abattoir and a meat processing plant were raided and shut down in a joint action by police and the Food Standards Association for passing off horsemeat. · 

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