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Contamination of Beef Products

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:04 pm on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 12:04 pm, 14th February 2013

I believe that that will be an inevitable consequence of the exercise, and I hope that they will respond positively to that invitation.

Obviously, substituting horsemeat for beef, which is what has been discovered, is described as criminal activity and will be investigated. We are obviously delighted that the perpetrators will face the full force of the law. However, the potential shortcomings are particularly worrying, because the food industry currently appears unable to account for ingredients in all its foodstuffs. We conclude that it is improbable that those who are prepared to pass horsemeat off as beef illegally will apply the high hygiene standards that we require and that consumers expect in food production. With regard to lessons to be learnt, we strongly believe that the FSA has to be more fleet of foot. It must be given the tools to do the job. It currently has no statutory power to require testing by producers, taking into account the level of risk.