Horse Meat Scandal: Poll Shows Third Of Britons Have Stopped Eating Ready Meals After Findus Lasagne Reports

The Death Of The Ready Meal?

Almost a third of voters have stopped eating ready-meals as a result of the scandal, a poll has suggested, and as many as one in fourteen have stopped eating meat altogether.

The poll found 31% of people have stopped eating the convenience foods, and 7% have gone vegetarian, at least temporarily.

The ComRes survey for the Sunday Mirror and the Independent on Sunday, also found a majority in favour of a ban on all meat imports "until we can be sure of their origin" by 53% to 33%.

There was encouraging news for the Government, of the 2,002 adults surveyed this week, 44% said it had responded well to the crisis against 30% who disagreed.

The poll comes as Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the Government of being "slow to get a grip" on the horse meat scandal.

Speaking in Eastleigh, where he was joined by his by-election campaigners, Miliband said ministers had not been "sure-footed" in their response and called for clear guidance for schools and hospitals.

"I think they've been too slow to get a grip on this situation," he told Sky News.

"It's obviously a very difficult and complex situation but we said right from the beginning that the Government needed to do three things:

"Offer clear guidance, including to schools and hospitals, about what they should be doing.

"Get the testing under way as quickly as possible and make sure the official testing is done, not as it is still planned to do by April, but much quicker.

"And thirdly, get the police involved and make sure there is a proper police investigation."

Test results on British foods were released Friday lunchtime

He added: "Obviously we want this resolved quickly. We want to get to the bottom of it.

"I think the retailers do have a responsibility but I also think the Government has not been as sure-footed as it should have been in its handling of this."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg dismissed the Labour leader's criticisms.

"I don't think Ed Miliband's comments are fair; he is just carping from the sidelines," he said.

"We need to restore consumer confidence. That is why we are working flat-out now with the European authorities, with other European countries and, of course, introducing things that we should now do on a more systematic debate like random testing."

Earlier it was reported that three men who were arrested by police investigating the scandal have been released on bail, as officials continued to examine evidencefrom three more plants.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it had passed on evidence from two premises in Tottenham and one in Hull to Europol - the European Union's law enforcement agency - after investigators, accompanied by police officers and local authority officials, removed meat samples for testing.

Dafydd Raw-Rees, 64, the owner of Farmbox Meats near Aberystwyth, and a 42-year-old man, were arrested in Wales on Thursday on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act.

Three more raids have been carried out

A 63-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of the same offence at Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

The men have been released pending further inquiries and will return to answer bail in Aberystwyth at a later date, Dyfed Powys Police said.

One of the plants, Dinos & Sons Continental Foods, raided on Thursday, said it was "co-operating with local trading standards officers and the FSA".

The site, which is based in the Millmead Industrial Estate in Tottenham, was closed this morning, with no visible signs of activity.

However the company issued a statement yesterday saying: "Dinos & Sons has been asked to clarify its position in respect of the transportation and storage of frozen beef that was imported by, and belonged to, a third party that the FSA is investigating.

"At no time has Dinos & Sons produced or manufactured anything that is under investigation or is the subject of any possible contamination or mislabelling."

The Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

A second company was named as Flexi Foods Ltd, in Hull, which stored meat at Dinos & Sons Continental Foods, it was reported.

A spokesman for Flexi Foods said: "We are aware of an ongoing, wide-ranging, Food Standards Agency investigation. We have been asked to supply some information in relation to only one part of this investigation, with which we are quite voluntarily co-operating.

"We feel it would not be fair, nor appropriate, to comment any further whilst the authorities continue with their much wider investigations."

The watchdog said 2,501 tests were conducted on beef products, with 29 results positive for undeclared horse meat at or above 1%.


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