More testing as horsemeat scandal grows
Tests conducted by 28 councils on meat products in their areas will this week show the extent of the horsemeat scandal, it was announced.
It is unclear whether any of the local authorities in the Westcountry has been instructed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to begin tests on a range of a limited number of beef products, including meat balls, burgers and lasagne ready meals.
Meanwhile, many High Street butchers and farm shops across the region will be waiting to see whether the revelations that processed food contained up to 100% horse meat spark an upsurge in demand for meat with clear provenance.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the Government was powerless to impose a ban on meat imports unless beef contaminated with horse meat is found to be a health risk.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The FSA has said there is no evidence to suggest that the horse meat detected poses a danger to humans, but confirmed that tests have been ordered on products for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone as animals treated with "bute" are not allowed to enter the food chain.
Mr Paterson was speaking after warning yesterday that the next set of results on all retailers' and manufacturers' processed beef products could reveal further traces of horse meat.
"There may well be more bad results coming through, that's the point of doing this random analysis," Mr Paterson said.
The results, ordered by the FSA, are due on Friday.
Appearing on BBC1's Sunday Politics show, Mr Paterson repeated his vow to get to the bottom of the scandal, which he has suggested is part of an international criminal conspiracy.
He said: "This week obviously we'll be talking to counterparts across Europe, because ultimately this is European Union competence."
But asked if there should be a moratorium on meat imports in the EU, he said: "That is not allowed within the European common market.
"If they find there is a product which could potentially be injurious to public health, emphatically, I will take the necessary action."
Asked if he would consider a ban if tests proved a food safety risk, he added: "If there is a threat to public health that is allowed within the rules of the European market."