Nestle withdraws three products after finding traces of horse DNA

Mince meat

The horsemeat scandal widened this morning, with an announcement from Nestle that traces of horse DNA had been found in some of its beef pasta meals.

The Swiss-based food manufacturer said that two of its chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini, had been removed from sale in Italy and Spain. Lasagnes a la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product for catering businesses which is made in France, will also be withdrawn.

Testing by Nestle, the world’s biggest food supplier, had found more than 1% horse DNA in the affected products and as a consequence the company has halted deliveries of all products made using beef supplied by German firm HJ Schypke, a subcontractor of one of its suppliers.

Last week Nestle had insisted that its products were not affected by the scandal.

Announcing the problem today, the company stressed the fact that the withdrawn meals are safe to eat but added that “the mislabelling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us.”

Stores across the UK and Europe have been forced to clear their shelves of a variety of beef products since the horsemeat scandal first erupted in January.

The reports of horse DNA being found in beef products were initially focused on beef burgers produced in Ireland, but subsequent testing identified that several ranges of prepared frozen food in Britain and elsewhere in Europe contained up to 100% horsemeat. According to the BBC the issue has now affected at least 12 European countries.

The crisis has highlighted the complex supply chains in the food-processing industry and damaged consumer confidence.

Nestle said today that it would be enhancing its existing quality assurance programme by adding new tests on beef for horse DNA prior to production in Europe.

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