Horse Meat Lasagne: Environment Secretary Owen Paterson Says Frozen Ready Meals 'Safe'

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said he would be perfectly happy to eat a frozen ready-meal lasagne for his Friday night dinner - saying the issue was the mislabelling and not the safety of the food.

But he also said a "criminal conspiracy" could be behind the horse meat in Findus beef lasagne.

Speaking on Sky News, he said: "Findus have withdrawn that particular product but I, emphatically, would eat products onsale tonight because the FSA are quite clear that the products are safe.

"What is absolutely totally unacceptable to us all is that there should be products marked as processed beef, which contain significant amounts of processed horse.

"The FSA is quite clear that all the material offers no threat to human health. I trust our farmers, our processing industry, who are very proud of their products. And it's in their interest we get to the bottom of this. Either there has been gross incompetence or a criminal conspiracy."

He announced an "unprecedented" investigation into the matter. "We have meetings planned for the coming week with the independent Food Standards Agency to be rigorous on these matters, and they have decided with us to conduct an unprecedented survey of processed beef products over the next few days and tomorrow in London I will have a joint meeting with the FSA and retailers.

"We will hope to have meaningful results by the end of next week.

"The retailers have a massive interest in selling healthy food to the public that is correctly labelled so they come back to them again

Officers from Scotland Yard have met with the Food Standards Agency over the horse meat scandal but there is currently no official police investigation, the force said.

On Friday night other products being withdrawn were the frozen beef lasagne and frozen spaghetti bolognese from Aldi's Today's Special range.

Tests on Today's Special frozen beef lasagne and Today's Special frozen spaghetti bolognese found they contained between 30% and 100% horse meat, Aldi said.

Tesco also decided to withdraw its Everyday Value spaghetti bolognese, although there was no evidence of contamination.

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