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By Rebecca Burn-Callander Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Horsemeat found in Tesco 'beef' burgers

For anyone who's eaten a Tesco burger recently, this is the stuff of night mares (geddit). Horse meat has been found to account for 29% of Tesco Everyday Value burgers.

Burger lovers across the UK are chomping at the bit today over news that British supermarkets have been flogging burgers containing more than just beef. Tests have been carried out on 27 beef products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores and low levels of horse’s DNA have been uncovered in 10 items, with a further 23 products found to contain pig DNA.

But Tesco really takes the (Sea)biscuit; its burgers were found to contain 29% horsemeat. The UK's largest supermarket chain has now removed all beef products originating from the incriminated meat processing plants.

Did they know about the horsemeat? 'Neigh,' says group technical director Tim Smith. 'The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news, and we apologise sincerely for any distress.'

So where did the horsemeat come from? Well, the Republic of Ireland's food safety authority (FSAI) reckons that meat tainted with 'horse DNA' may have orginated from two processing plants in Ireland – Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods – and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in north Yorkshire.

The Food Standards Agency, which is working with the Irish authorities, has confirmed that stores across the UK and Ireland have been affected. However, it is also keen to stress that horsemeat is not dangerous. Who knows, it may even add a welcome trace of Red Rum to the flavour.

Whatever next? Traces of zebra found in Tesco bar codes?

Image: 'horse meat' BigStockPhoto

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