UK

Horse Meat Scandal: British Firms May Have Bought Contaminated Dutch Meat

10/04/2013 19:58 BST | Updated 10/04/2013 19:58 BST

British firms may have bought meat from a Dutch company at the centre of the latest horsemeat scare, it has been revealed.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said a "small number" of businesses may have received products from the company that supplied some 50,000 tonnes of meat that could have contained horse.

Dutch authorities announced on Wednesday that the meat is being recalled where possible.

The FSA said there was no reason to suggest there was a food safety issue at this stage.

It said: "The FSA has been informed by the Dutch authorities that a small number of UK businesses may potentially have received products from the company implicated in their investigation.

"The FSA is following up with these businesses as a matter of urgency to determine if they have received products from the Dutch company."

It said the figure of 50,000 tonnes referred to the total amount of product distributed by the Dutch company since January 2011 and across 16 countries in Europe.

The Dutch authorities had confirmed that this information had come to light as part of their ongoing investigations into the horsemeat incident.

The meat, that was sold as beef across Europe, is being recalled because its exact source could not be established.

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said that around 370 different companies around Europe and 130 more in the Netherlands were affected by the recall because they bought meat from two Dutch trading companies.

It said that because the exact source of the meat cannot be traced "its safety cannot be guaranteed".

And it said that due to the lapse of time, a lot of the meat "may already have been consumed".

Earlier on Wednesday, Asda moved to reassure customers that it acted "immediately, and in the most high profile way possible" to alert them to bute detected in a corned beef product, initially withdrawn from sale more than a month ago.