SHOPPERS have reacted with disgust to news that horse meat was found in supermarket burgers.
Varying amounts of horse meat were discovered in burger products in Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland – with stores across Wrexham, Flintshire and Chester, according to a report released by the Food Standards Agency in Ireland yesterday.
The study found: “In nine of the 10 beefburger samples from these retailers, horse DNA was found at very low levels. However, in one sample from Tesco, the level of horse DNA indicated that horse meat accounted for approximately 29 per cent relative to the beef content.”
A number of samples also tested positive for pig DNA.
Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the FSAI, said while the findings posed no risk to public health, shoppers “do not expect” to find horse meat in a burger.
Wrexham man Paul Gould, whose family sometimes shops at Tesco, said: “I’m not a fussy eater but I’d preferably not eat horse. I don’t like the thought that if I’d had a burger from Tesco it might have had horse in it. I wouldn’t be happy.”
A woman shopper from Llay, who did not want to be named, said she was “quite shocked” by the revelation.
She said: “I always make my own, because you don’t know what’s in them.”
Pete Lloyd, a former abattoir worker from Acrefair, said: “Twenty nine per cent is a horrendous amount.
“I don’t eat burgers much anyway, but you don’t get much bigger than Tesco.
“It’s okay if you’re abroad and you know what it is, but in a beefburger you expect beef.”
All four supermarket chains have withdrawn the products implicated in the study, while Aldi, whose affected burger brand was on sale in Ireland only, has withdrawn three UK lines as a precautionary measure, although they were not implicated in testing.
Tim Smith, Tesco group technical director, said: “We immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question.
We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK and with the supplier concerned to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.”
A spokesman for the Iceland chain said the company noted the study “with concern” and had withdrawn the two Iceland brand quarter pounder burger lines from sale.
The Iceland samples tested positive for a 0.1 per cent horsemeat content.
A spokesman for Aldi said: “Aldi would like to stress there is no risk to food safety, and the product tested by the FSAI, Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 Pack) is not on sale in Aldi UK stores.”
Lidl said a full investigation was under way.
The company’s Moordale Beef Burgers tested positive for trace amounts of horse meat, just above the levels detectable.