Horsemeat: FSA corrects 1% horse DNA error

Products claimed to have tested positive for horse DNA at or above the 1% threshold have been contradicted by the FSA.

Tests on three products from the Burger Manufacturing Company (BMC) were said to contain horse DNA at or above 1% when tested at the end of February. However, in an update on 22 March, the FSA has now said that less than 1% horse DNA was discovered in the burgers after more testing was carried out.

As a result, BMC told MeatInfo.co.uk that the false alarm could cause it to lose around 250,000. Testing was originally carried out by Powys County Council.

In a statement from BMC sales and marketing manager Mark Cornall, the company said: "BMC and its parent company Sparks Catering Butchers Ltd have suffered considerable damage during the last 2 months and losses could potentially be in the region of 250,000 and we are working with our customer base to limit the damage going forward.

"Ultimately once the dust settles and the businesses are back to where they were previously there are serious questions that need addressing and this will be pursued at the right time."

The company added that it was grateful for their customers and the support they have received from them.

A statement on the FSA website said BMC had withdrawn products after initial tests indicated they contained horse DNA at the 1% limit of detection. "However, subsequent tests confirmed the presence of horse DNA at levels below the 1% threshold for reporting."

BMC said the traces of horse DNA found in the burgers were at 0.02% and 0.046%, which was the equivalent of a grain of salt in a box of beef burgers.