The Scottish Government has moved to counter suggestions that it had not been sufficiently proactive on the issue of horsemeat in food products. Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said tests would be carried out this week to establish whether the meat had been used in public sector supplied meals. The Cabinet Secretary also said:
“The issue of horsemeat in the food chain is one that is being taken very seriously by both the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland….the issue surrounding horsemeat remains one of mislabelling and potential fraud with there being no evidence of any implications for human health at present.”
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said:
“So far, no Scottish businesses have been implicated in this scandal. However, we are not complacent. The FSA will continue to advise the public on which food products, if any, should be avoided, and to provide expert advice to Scottish Ministers on what action should be taken by Government. Indeed the FSA is continuing to demand the food industry do more testing of their beef products to give consumers confidence in what they are buying.”
In Scotland, the FSA retains responsibility for food labelling policy unlike in England where responsibility was transferred in 2010 to Ministers. Food safety and standards are devolved matters. In Scotland, the FSA provides advice directly to Scottish Ministers and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament.
As has been reported, Findus Beef Lasagne has been found to contain horsemeat and the affected products have been removed from sale and retailers will have been contacted by their supplier regarding this recall. If this has not yet happened please ensure that these products are removed from sale and returned to the supplier or wholesaler from which they were bought.
SGF will continue to monitor this issue as it develops and inform you about it.