Government announces review of horsemeat

A wide-ranging review of the horsemeat scandal will be launched by the UK Government, it has been announced in a written ministerial statement.

Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath confirmed yesterday (15 April) that the Secretary of State will announce a strategic review of the scandal and the implications for the food chain and regulatory framework.

Heath stressed the importance of identifying weaknesses in the food system and controls, and making sure they are dealt with correctly.

In the statement, Heath explained: "This will be wide-ranging, to restore and maintain consumer confidence in the food chain and consider the responsibilities of food businesses, and practice throughout the wider food chain, including: audit, testing, food authenticity, food safety and health issues."

The ministerial statement was issued after the anti-inflammatory drug bute was found in Asda Smart Price corned beef. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) claimed bute poses a low risk to human health.

Heath continued: "Future reports on industry testing in the UK will be published quarterly, and the FSA will publish the next results in early June. It will continue to report individual products testing positive above the 1% reporting limit as soon as they are confirmed by the food industry."

The City of London Police is acting as the coordinating police authority regarding the UK investigations into the scandal.

"I reiterate that food fraud is completely unacceptable. Consumers must have confidence in the food they buy and have every right to expect that food is correctly described," said Heath.