Horse Meat Scandal: Nestlé Removes Three Beef Pasta Products From Sale After Finding Horse DNA

Nestlé has pulled beef pasta products from sale in three European countries after finding they contain more than 1% horse DNA.

A spokeswoman said she hoped to have an update for UK consumers shortly, but confirmed that two chilled pasta products recalled abroad after they were found to contain more than 1% horse were not sold here.

The world's biggest food company, who said in a statement last week that its products had not been affected by the horse meat debacle, now say there is now food safety issue but have removed three pasta products from Italy, Spain and France, Reuters reported.

Nestle had previously said its products were not affected

Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini have been withdrawn in Italy and Spain. Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product for catering businesses produced in France, will also be withdrawn.

The Swiss company said it had informed the authorities and was suspending deliveries of all products made using beef from a German subcontractor to one of its suppliers.

"Our tests have found traces of horse DNA in two products made from beef supplied by HJ Schypke. The levels found are above the 1% threshold the UK's Food Safety Agency uses to indicate likely adulteration or gross negligence. We have informed the authorities accordingly," the firm said.

On Monday, supermarket chain Lidl said on Monday it had withdrawn products from its stores in Finland and Sweden after finding traces of horse.

The food retail industry is "absolutely determined" to restore confidence in its products following the horse meat scandal and is expected to publish the remainder of its test results on beef products this week, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said on Monday.

The supplier of an Asda bolognese sauce taken off the shelves last week has restarted full production at its Bristol site after a "deep-clean" over the weekend.

Greencore, which makes own label sandwiches and chilled convenience food for the UK's biggest supermarket chains, said all other products from the factory have tested negative for equine DNA.

Meanwhile the National Beef Association (NBA) attacked the "bullying culture" it said frontline retail buyers had used for decades.

NBA national director Chris Mallon said supermarkets and a disappointed British public were paying the price for the "short-sighted, price-led, purchasing tactics".

He said: "They adopted a bullying culture aimed exclusively at securing as much farm food as possible for as little cost as possible, and the result is tortured supply chains that add so much unnecessary cost that short cuts on quality and traceability, and even cheating by some suppliers, was inevitable.

"These misguided tactics have to be quickly reversed if further collapse in consumer confidence in the UK's food supply chains is to be avoided. This can only be done if a real and permanent effort is made to correct decades of misapplied endeavour and a new approach to food purchasing is adopted.

"The multiples must start by focusing as much buying as possible on the high quality, high provenance food that is grown on nearby British farms. If they do this they can secure both current and future supplies of essential products as long as they also make sure that all participants in the supply chain adequately cover their costs."

He added: "The ongoing horsemeat scandal has demonstrated conclusively that consumers only get what they pay for and that continued price reduction will jeopardise food quality.

"Concentrating on cheapness is myopic. In real terms British consumers are currently paying 20% less for food than they did a decade ago. This trend cannot possibly continue because the world population is exploding and it is already clear world food production cannot keep up with it.

"The global food market is changing fast and supermarkets now need, for their own long term survival as well as the long term wellbeing of their customers, to persuade consumers they can no longer spend just 10% of their disposable income on food and be prepared, before long, to spend 15% instead."