MP handles horse meat scandal
NORTH Shropshire MP Owen Paterson found himself at the centre of a media storm at the weekend as the horse meat scandal continued.
Speaking to the BBC, the Environment Secretary warned there was “more unwelcome news” as further test results were expected. But despite fearing an “extensive” criminal conspiracy, Mr Paterson, who was due to brief MPs yesterday (Monday), says he believes there is no risk to human health.
The scandal, which broke last month when the Irish Food Standards Agency (FSA) discovered horse meat traces in some burgers sold in UK supermarkets including Tesco, Aldi and Lidl, exploded at the weekend after it was revealed some Findus UK frozen beef lasagnes were made entirely from horse meat. The products were made by French food processing company, Comigel.
The first round of Food Standards Agency enforced testing of beef products is due on Friday, while test results for horse medication phenylbutazone, also known as bute, which can be dangerous to humans, are expected later this week.
Following an urgent meeting with major retailers and food suppliers on Saturday, Mr Paterson said: “It’s totally unacceptable that customers have been buying products labelled beef, but which turn out to be horse.
“People should have absolute confidence in what they are buying. The responsibility for that lies with the retailers, who need to be absolutely sure that what they are selling is what they think it is.”
Legal action is expected to be launched in Europe after horse meat products were discovered, but Mr Paterson says a ban on importing EU meat imports is not allowed under EU rules unless it is dangerous to human health.