In Scotland, the Minister for Public Health, has written to the Scottish Parliament Health Committee to outline the Scottish Government’s response to the horsemeat crisis:
- At present there has been no horse DNA found in products manufactured in Scotland.
- At the request of Scottish Ministers, the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) has initiated a programme of inspections at every approved processed meat establishment in Scotland, the vast majority of these will have been carried out by February 22nd.
- In addition a UK- wide meat authenticity survey including samples from Scottish businesses has been initiated.
Meanwhile, UK retailers have rejected government criticism they "remained silent" over the horsemeat crisis - as they begin to release test results on beef products. In a public letter, 11 firms, including Tesco and Asda, said they shared shoppers' "anger and outrage". They said they were "working around the clock" to resolve the matter.
Downing Street had criticised the apparent reluctance of supermarkets involved in selling affected products to comment publicly on the horsemeat crisis. Number 10 said it was pleased retailers had finally spoken out in public.
The results of up to one third of tests on the presence of horsemeat in processed meals ordered by the Food Standards Agency are to be released today. The Co-Operative Group said 59 of its 102 own-brand minced beef products have been tested so far, with all found to be clear of horsemeat.
The British Retail Consortium's Helen Dickinson told BBC Radio 4 that retailers had been focusing on the swift testing of products. She added that lessons must be learned by "all parts of the food industry" in the UK and Europe. Some shops have already recalled products found to be adulterated, including Asda, which withdrew a beef Bolognese sauce on Thursday - the first fresh beef product to be involved. Aldi, Tesco and Findus have also withdrawn some beef-based ready meals.
SGF will continue to monitor this situation closely, liaise with its members and keep them informed as the key issues develop.