Horsemeat: Laboratory brings out horse DNA test

Testing laboratory Genetic ID has introduced a new test to detect horse DNA in food samples.

The company said the test, which uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, can return results as quickly as 12 noon the next working day. There are also options for next-day and three business day tests.

The test has been introduced in the wake of revelations from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which found that burgers sold in Tesco, Iceland, Lidl and Aldi had low levels of horse DNA and one burger sold in Tesco had as much as 29% horsemeat. Burgers and other beef products also tested positive for pig DNA. Authorities are currently investigating the source of the contamination, with the finger of blame currently pointed at ingredients suppliers from Europe.

Dr Konstantin Rizos, laboratory manager at Genetic ID, said: “In global food supply, knowing your supplies are authentic and have not been illegally or fraudulently sourced or labelled is now more important than ever, especially in light of recent news in the UK about beef burgers containing both equine and porcine DNA samples.

“There are many processes available to help brand owners protect their investments, and undertaking third-party independent testing is the only way you can guarantee product integrity. Indeed, following the burger issue in the UK and Ireland, regulatory bodies are now encouraging food businesses to undertake testing to verify the authenticity of the products supplied”.