Horse News

Horsemeat found in Beef Burgers on Sale in UK and Ireland

information supplied by the BBC

Horse DNA has been found in some beef burgers being sold in UK and Irish supermarkets, the Republic of Ireland's food safety authority (FSAI) has said.

Horse DNA has been found in some beef burgers being sold in UK and Irish supermarkets, the Republic of Ireland’s food safety authority (FSAI) has said.

The FSAI said the meat came from two processing plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire.

It said they posed no health risk.

The burgers were on sale in Tesco and Iceland in the UK and Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland they were on sale in Dunnes Stores, Lidl, and Aldi.

The FSAI said the retailers have stated that they were removing all implicated batches of the burgers.

A total of 27 products were analysed, with 10 of them containing horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA.


Horsemeat accounted for approximately 29% of the meat content in one sample from Tesco.

In addition, 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, were analysed, of which 21 tested positive for pig DNA.

The chief executive of the FSAI, Professor Alan Reilly, said that while the findings posed no risk to public health, they did raise some concerns.

“Whilst, there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process,” he said.

“In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger,” Professor Reilly added.

“Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable.”

Tesco’s group technical director, Tim Smith, said his company was informed of the test results by the FSAI on Tuesday and they “immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question”.

‘Extremely serious’

In Tesco’s case, two frozen beef burger products that are sold in both the UK and Ireland were found to contain horse DNA.

In a statement, Mr Smith said: “The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious.”

He added that Tesco was “working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again”.

“We will not take any products from this site until the conclusion and satisfactory resolution of an investigation,” the statement said.


Iceland said it has “withdrawn from sale the two Iceland brand quarter pounder burger lines implicated in the study”.

In a statement, the company said it noted the FSAI’s findings “with concern” and “would be working closely with its suppliers to investigate this issue and to ensure that all Iceland brand products meet the high standards of quality and integrity that we specify and which our customers are entitled to expect”.

Aldi said only one of its products – which is only on sale in the Republic of Ireland – was affected.

In a statement, Aldi Stores (Ireland) said: “Following notification this afternoon from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) of an issue in relation to our Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 pack) we have immediately removed the product from sale and have launched an investigation into the matter.”


The company said it “takes the quality of all its products extremely seriously and demands the highest standards from its suppliers”.

Lidl was not immediately available for comment when contacted by the BBC.

Meanwhile, Silvercrest Foods said it has never bought horse product, and has launched an investigation into two continental European third party suppliers.

18 replies »

  1. Since when has the production and sale of any meat — flesh stolen from an innocent animal — been other than deceptive and crooked?

    Stealing the life of any living being, whether horse or cow or pig, is not the road to justice, to truth, or to peace on this planet. Not now, not ever.

    This latest episode, anathema to most for reasons of cultural differences or dining preferences or religious prohibitions, is just a small hint of the larger picture of out-of-control carnism, a form of selfishness that’s sending earth’s environment into a tailspin.

    All of us can do something very easy that will sweep the meat industry into the dustbin of history: quit our addiction to animal products. Doing right by our fellow beings — and ourselves — is the only way to counter this form of deception and corruption.

    OK, off my rarely-used-in-this-space soapbox.


  2. In my readings of global meat markets and the sale of beef. I am not surprise meat is beef in not tested internationally for other animals and horse. It would be interesting if they did tested for horse meat.


  3. I am sitting here myself thinking why am I not surprised by this? So many crooked things going on! I’m sure this will not help the slaughter industry at all as more and more people are choosing not to eat meat. I’m glad we have the social media to share so quickly what is happening around the world! Thank you for sharing 🙂


  4. I think we know what the results would be here. If you haven’t, read or re-read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” from 1906. That’s right 1906. It’s what caused Teddy Roosevelt to begin creating the regulatory framework that has recently been cut back and under funded. Food production in general, and meat in particular, have always been thoroughly corrupt because people MUST eat, and every corner cut and regulation dodged means more profit. Has been since Navies were cheated on salt beef – that’s where we get the term “getting to the bottom of the barrel” for crap – the top layers would be acceptable, and when opened pass inspection, while what lay underneath was anybody’s guess. Call AND write your Senators and Representatives. Demand they properly fund the USDA and inspectors – BTW USDA has been without an Inspector General for a long time now. Do NOT let them succumb to lobbying pressure to reduce regulations. Companies do NOT, EVER, have your interests at heart, only their own.


  5. Well said, Bless Us All. I agree. All creatures suffer and there are plenty of substitutes. All the grain fed to livestock and poultry can be used to feed people and water will be saved also .


    • Sorry, but being a farmer, I have to add that growing grain can be much more damaging to the environment than pasturing animals. Most grain farmers use tons of synthetic fertilizers and sprays, and the act of plowing and harvesting causes soil damage.


  6. In the recent EU Horsemeat Consumer Investigation – which many of you may have seen already – it was found that fewer Europeans than what we’ve been led to believe eat horses at all. Of the ones that do, most are in favor of a ban on importing horse meat from North America. In the fresh meat counters in Europe you will not find American horse meat, because the country-of-origin is on the label.

    So what about all the thousands of our horses that are slaughtered every day and go to the EU? They are in processed meat products – bologna, sausage, etc, Horse meat IS on the label, but NOT country-of-origin. Slick, huh? But, even worse, in many packaged party snacks and other such things it’s not really obvious that they contain meat at all – much less horse meat from the US.

    If you’ve wondered how low horse meat traders can go, well here’s a good example – disguising tainted meat and selling it to your own countrymen. These people truly have no souls.

    If you haven’t seen this report: EU Horse Meat Retail Investigation:


  7. Its deeply troubling. I go to Costco and buy hamburger EXPECTING beef. It’s what I bought and paid for. The stark possibility of horse meat somehow finding its way into my hamburger bothers. It also deeply offends me that pig is somehow mixed up in this too.

    I know a lot of people who DON’T eat pig for religious reasons. It doesn’t matter how “clean” they are today. The people were raised otherwise.

    I may not understand all that kosher is. But slaughter plants have better buckle up if they wanna stay in business. Cause I can see many people uniting to slaughter Using kosher standards.


  8. Since horse meat from Canada is cheaper that looks like what goes into the snack foods. Most people don’t read the labels on any of these foods so they wouldn’t be given a choice of eating horse meat or not. It’s possible it’s not listed. On the junk food here in the US I doubt all of the ingredients are listed most of it consists of calories and sodium.


  9. Horse meat found in burgers — traces of pig, too

    Horse meat and pig meat were found in burgers and ground beef sold at Ireland’s biggest supermarkets. Traces of pig DNA appear in 85 percent of the tested meat, and one burger was roughly 30 percent horse meat.

    By Raphael Satter, Associated Press / January 15, 2013


    • Very sad, very common and people need to really start finding out what is really in their food. My ex husband is a farmer and he would never let our 5 children eat beefburgers, chicken from fast food outlets, the skin on chicken, re-formed meats such as most ham you buy, any meat products such as deli foods, or any processed foods whatsoever. No pizza, no takeaway. And whilst we are on the subject, no fizzy drinks either. He said, whole meat, ie a joint, mince it yourself, then make what you want with it, but always know what you are buying and start from there. Good advice from someone who knows how it is produced.


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