Horse News

Findus Leak Reveals Tainted Horse Meat in ‘Beef’ for Six Months

“Hey USA, What’s in YOUR Ground Beef?”

Findus+frozen+Beef+Lasagne+Britons have been eating horse meat in “beef” ready meals for up to six months, according to a leaked document from the frozen food company at the centre of the scandal.

Findus admitted in a letter to retailers on Monday that its French supplier Comigel had indicated that there was likely to have been a problem with its frozen ready meals since last August.

Supermarkets alerted to the contamination earlier this week were told “that the raw materials delivered since 1 August 2012, are likely to non-conform… ” As the crisis spread, Aldi admitted that its frozen own-brand  lasagnes and spaghetti bolognese – also containing meat from Comigel – contained up to 100 per cent horse DNA.

“Tests have been completed that show horse meat in the withdrawn products. In samples selected at random, tests demonstrated that the withdrawn products contained between 30 per cent and 100 per cent horse meat,” the budget retailer said.

Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, said it was still awaiting test results on its own-brand spaghetti bolognese. The disclosures suggest that many tens of thousands of British people have been unwittingly eating horse meat. Public health scientists fear that the covertly added meat may have traces of the banned veterinary drug “bute”, which is harmful to humans in large amounts.

As the police were called in to deal with the adulteration, and trading standards officers said they were “on high alert”, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) maintained there was no evidence the horse meat was unsafe.

Comigel, based in Metz, said it had “identified” the supplier responsible and withdrawn all its produce from sale. Company director Erich Lehagre was reported saying it originated from a Romanian abattoir.

The FSA said it had demanded that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products such as burgers, meatballs and lasagne. With the apparent complete breakdown of the meat traceability system introduced after the BSE crisis in the 1990s, manufacturers, retailers and the FSA were left facing awkward questions.

findus-beef-lasagna-with-horsemeatFindus was informed by Comigel that there was a problem with its frozen lasagnes and spaghetti bolognese more than a week ago, according to the Labour MP Tom Watson, who obtained Findus’s letter to retailers.

Findus only informed Britain’s  supermarkets of the problem on Monday – and the FSA on Wednesday  afternoon. The FSA then waited all day before issuing a public statement at 6pm on Thursday, saying tests showed the presence of “more than 60 per cent” horse in Findus foods. The actual figure, the FSA admitted later, was 60 to 100 per cent.

Tesco and Aldi withdrew Comigel-supplied packs of their own-brand frozen meat products earlier this week but did not alert public and media to their product withdrawals until Wednesday.

The Government faced hostile questions over its handling of the scandal at yesterday’s press conference but it wasn’t until after 8pm that the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, made a public statement when he said the FSA had “ordered food businesses” to test processed beef products and was trying to find out if schools and hospitals had received adulterated meat.

He blamed criminal activity for the contamination: “Clearly there are some people who believe they can get away with selling cheap meat and passing it off as something else. Our investigations will find them and they will feel the full force of the law.

“British food prides itself on scrupulous traceability. I will not have that undermined by the selfish, reckless and potentially illegal actions of anyone – whether in this country or abroad.”

However, his statement raised further questions about when the FSA learnt Findus products had been adulterated. He said Findus informed the FSA on Thursday, contradicting the FSA’s earlier statement when it told The Independent it had been told on Wednesday.

The minister also said it had been agreed “businesses will publish the results of their own testing”, which went further than earlier indications that they would inform the FSA, which would then decide which should be made public.

Mr Paterson said there was no reason to suppose beef products on sale were unsafe but told consumers who had bought the Findus lasagnes to  return them.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has been alerted to the adulteration by Labour’s shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh, who last month exposed the presence of bute in UK-slaughtered horses. She said: “I have been given information about British companies who may potentially be involved in the illegal horse-meat trade.”

Click (HERE) to visit the Independent and to Comment

14 replies »

  1. This is heinous. I hope lawsuits abound and the market for horse meat dries up rapidly. Just wait until some child who’s immune system has been jeopardized is poisoned!


  2. Unfortunately, the child”s system doesn’t need to be compromised. Bute is not the culprit although it is the catalyst which will damage anyone’s kidney, liver and bone marrow – but young humans and some specific genetic pools for race are more susceptible to aseptic anemia. Bute when metabolized creates another compound – which is too remote in my brain to recall right now. That compound is what does the damage.

    And one very real reason why vets always caution against long term use in your own horse because it will suffer potentially fatal damage to its kidney, liver and marrow system.

    I hope this horrible news wakes people up and they listen to the echoing cries of us fighting to protect the horses from an undeserved brutal end but flow humans from unbelievable evil consequences.

    DEMAND the passage of the ban on horse slaughter.


  3. How many race horses, Thoroughbreds, mustangs, and more, have been sacrified at the alter of human greed? What about all of the drugs? Who will take responsibility, now? Let our cries for the horses become stronger and stronger!!!! Time for a serious wake up call, folks.


    • We’ve been serious all along. It’s our own government who is toying with human life and especially the lives of the horses!


  4. Yes, as Steve says, it’s “heinous,” but it also may be just the “break” the horses have needed.

    UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says: “Clearly there are some people who believe they can get away with selling cheap meat and passing it off as something else.”

    Cheap meat? I thought horse meat was expensive. Is what goes into the lasagna the “dregs” of horse flesh, the way dairy cow flesh is considered the bottom of the beef barrel and is used only for hamburger meat?

    Paterson also says: “British food prides itself on scrupulous traceability. I will not have that undermined by the selfish, reckless and potentially illegal actions of anyone – whether in this country or abroad.”

    The selfish and reckless (and immoral, if not illegal) actions go deeper than meat-traceability issues, Secretary Paterson. They go all the way back to the horse breeders and racehorse owners who churn out foals en masse and to the AQHA and to the BLM and to every other calculating, callous, and corrupt organization and individual who “uses” horses for their own gain, knowing they can readily dump their “castoffs” in the slaughter market.

    Thank goodness the UK inspectors are doing their job, and not hiding their findings! This whole story proves, to me, that sin (in the broad sense of the word) is always found out, sooner or later. It is too “stupid” to get away with doing wrong forever.


  5. As horrible as the truth is, the more the public hears about what (and WHO) they are eating the better – thank you.


  6. This so terrible..I would bet that some of that horse meat came from US horses. I wonder if there are any ways to trace the origin of the horse meat involved. I hope all of the people in the UK and Ireland are aware of the possible serious effects. Blessusall has it right on the money. Most of the breed associations are in the pocket of the ranchers. I am hoping the the Arabian Horse Association is able to resend their position on slaughter as 50% of the members plus are against slaughter. I bet the crooks didn’t feed any of the products to their families. Some people are just shameless!! I hope those involved go to jail. Just think how many people could be effected…Unreal!!


  7. When will the world’s governments realize horses are not meant to be eaten? And that anyone involved in the “industry” of killing horses for meat are never law abiding good citizens. How much more obvious can things get?


    • They know but they don’t care. Every little thing has a dollar value on it including the world leaders. They all sell out for a price.


  8. I agree everyone needs to know what AND WHO they are eating. And exactly HOW what they are eating gets to their plate…


  9. “It is concerning that Canada, which is America’s largest supplier of imported beef, is not audited every year. It would seem prudent for USDA to conduct an annual audit for those countries — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay — that account for the bulk of America’s imported beef products,” said Buck. “It is not clear what caused this policy change.”


  10. if horse meat is such an expensive treat in France , what is the horse meat sold at Burger King? Burger Kings , burgers come from horse meat rejected by France. Burger King meat was for dog food. why would anyone eat something ground up.


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