Following the news that six U.K. retailers were selling burgers that contained varying amounts of horse, then the revalation that Burger King’s patty supply contained "very small trace levels" of equine DNA, it’s now being reported that the U.K.-based food manufacturer Findus has been selling frozen lasagna dinners that purport to be beef but may actually be up to 100 percent ground horse chuck.
More than 20,000 single-serve lasagnas have been recalled in Sweden, and an investigation is under way in the U.K.. After a tip from a third-party supplier, representatives at Findus examined its inventory and discovered that eleven out of eighteen of its meals were found to contain between 60 and 100 percent horse. After reporting to the government, Food Standards Agency chief executive Catherine Brown appeared on a BBC news program to say that the contamination isn’t inherently dangerous, but that "the clear majority, potentially all of these products" are affected. The agency says "criminal activity" is responsible for the switcheroo, and while it is unlikely, investigations are taking place to determine whether potentially harmful veterinary drugs such as phenylbutazone may also be present in the prepared meals.
In the U.K., all Findus "beef" lasagna products have been recalled from supermarket shelves, and the company has released an apology and statement saying, "We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue." In the meantime, authorities are looking to determine if any meat contaminated with horse or pig DNA made its way into other products that remain on supermarket shelves. "Twenty-eight local authorities across the UK will take a total of 224 samples, and results are due to be published in April," the BBC reports.*
Processed beef need not be avoided, says FSA after horsemeat find [BBC]
Horsemeat lasagna recalled in Sweden [AP]
Earlier: Let’s Play the Horseburger Paternity Game
*This post has been updated to include new information.