The Food Standards Agency has expanded its UK-wide survey of food authenticity in processed meat products being carried out through local authorities.
The survey, expanded to ensure that a wider range of products are sampled, will include a total of 514 products.
The sampling for the first two phases will be carried out by 28 local authorities and will include beef-based foods that are sold pre-packed, or 'loose' (for example, cafe sandwiches).
Sampling for the third phase will be allocated to other local authorities across the UK.
Details of the survey
Phase 1: 224 samples of raw comminuted (minced) beef products including burgers, minced beef, beef sausage or meat balls checked for horse and pork DNA. Status: This phase is ongoing and is part of the original protocol, which you can see in the link below.
Phase 2: 140 samples of beef-based ready meals including frozen, chilled or canned lasagne, chilli con carne, cottage pie, ravioli, cannelloni and spaghetti bolognese checked for horse and pork DNA. Status: This new phase began on 14 February and sampling will be completed on 22 February.
Phase 3: 150 samples will be taken as part of a European Commission survey (official control programme) and checked for horse DNA. These include products marketed or labelled as containing beef as a major ingredient such as minced meat, meat products and meat preparations (such as kebabs with seasoning). Products such as gelatine, beef dripping, stock cubes, steak, stewing steak and ready meals which contain beef that is not minced, are included. Status: Work is scheduled to start the week beginning 25 February.
The FSA will publish the results from all three phases of the study, including brand names. Initial findings will be available from the end of February and the FSA will disclose any formal action taken in April.
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.