The results of tests on meat destined for UK shelves are to be made public in the wake of the scandals over horse meat and the contamination of halal food, it has been announced.
The results of industry tests will be published “to provide a clearer picture of standards”, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said after a meeting attended by food and farming minister David Heath, and major food retailers and suppliers yesterday.
It comes as the industry and the Government attempt to restore consumer confidence following the discovery of horse DNA in burgers and pig DNA in supposedly halal products for Muslim prisoners.
“Food businesses’ agreement to give regular updates on meat testing is a significant move that will give consumers confidence in what they’re buying.
“It’s now important that the industry starts sharing this information as soon as possible.”
The FSA said it would now sit down with businesses to agree a standardised sampling and testing system.
It ordered the meeting last week following a spate of mis-labelled or contaminated food products reaching the public.
On Sunday, food distributor 3663 identified McColgan Quality Foods Limited, a Northern Ireland-based company, as the source of “the very small number of halal savoury beef pastry products” – which it supplied to prisons – that were found to contain pig DNA.
Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork.
Last month horse meat was found in burgers sold by a number of major supermarkets.
Yesterday, a second meat processing plant in Ireland tested positive for traces of horse meat.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed damaging findings of 75% equine DNA in raw ingredient at Rangeland Foods in Co Monaghan.
Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to agree a way forward to maintain consumer confidence in the food that people eat.
“We need to move swiftly to get this work under way to reassure consumers.”