Compass and Whitbread find horse DNA

THE FOODSERVICE sector has been dragged into the horse meat scandal with Compass and Whitbread having found horse DNA in products sold as beef. Horse meat has also been found in cottage pies supplied to 47 schools in Lancashire.


The news emerged just a fews hours after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published the first results from its industry-wide testing.


In all, 2,501 products have been tested, of which 2,472 (99%) were negative for the presence of horse DNA at or above the level of 1%. That left 29 samples testing positive, all of which related to seven products that have already been reported and where the food business and the FSA had already taken “appropriate action” to remove the products from sale and notify consumers.


Some 950 tests are still in progress.


Speaking to Footprint today, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) food advisor John Dyson said there were still “lots of companies going through their supply chains and providing a wide range of information”.


The FSA also said that the results so far are still “far from the full picture” but they have been “encouraged” by the speed with which industry is acting.


Compass said today, February 15th, that it had sold beef burgers distributed by Irish firm Rangeland Foods – a company that had found horse DNA in ingredients labelled as beef – to a “small number of sites” in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite receiving written assurances from Rangeland Foods that none of the identified horse DNA had entered its production, Compass withdrew the product and stopped any further purchases. It subsequently carried out a DNA test on a sample of the withdrawn product, which identified a minor amount of horse DNA. A spokesman said the situation was “totally unacceptable”.


Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee, pub restaurant chains Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, and hotel chain Premier Inn, said beef burger and lasagne products had tested positive for horse DNA and been withdrawn from sale. “We are shocked and disappointed at this failure,” it said in a statement.