British Prime Minister David Cameron weighed in today on the discovery that some hamburger products sold in supermarkets in Ireland and the United Kingdom have been found to contain horse meat, calling it “completely unacceptable.”
Tests on beef products sold in stores found low levels of horse DNA in hamburgers, and while there is no health risk, stores are pulling implicated products from their shelves.
Most of the products include trace amounts of the horse DNA (about 0.1% – 0.3%), but one product, a beef burger sold at Tesco, was found to contain 29 percent horse meat.
“It is extremely disturbing news,” Cameron said at a meeting in parliament today. “I have asked the Food Standards Agency to conduct an urgent investigation into this.”
It is unclear how the horse meat ended up in the beef products. Several of the products also contain pig DNA, but experts say that isn’t out of the ordinary.
“Whilst there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process,” Prof. Alan Reilly, chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said to the Press Association.