Meat testing protocol published by FSA

Last updated:
6 February 2013
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The Food Standards Agency has published the protocol for the UK-wide survey of food authenticity in processed meat products. This has been drawn up in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the devolved rural affairs departments and local authorities.

The survey will use specialised analytical techniques to provide information about the possible presence of horse or pig DNA in a range of beef products available to UK consumers. It also aims to identify and understand factors that may lead to the presence of meat species that are not labelled as an ingredient, so that this can be explained, eliminated or correctly labelled. This work is in addition to the preliminary sampling work that has already taken place.

It is planned that 28 local authorities across the UK will take a total of 224 samples in accordance with a detailed protocol, a summary of which can be found at the link below. The aim is to select products that are representative of goods on the market. The samples will be taken in such a way that, if necessary, enforcement action can be taken to protect consumers.

The FSA will publish the results from the study, including brand names, and will disclose any formal action taken.

It is anticipated that a full analysis of the results of this survey will be published in April 2013.