Asda hit by corned beef horse painkiller find
Asda has become the latest casualty of the bubbling horse meat scandal after traces of the horse painkiller bute were found lurking in its tins of ‘smart price’ corned beef by the Food Standards Agency.
The own brand label is touted as a wallet friendly alternative to branded goods but a desire to cut costs is thought to have contributed to the inclusion of up to 50 per cent horsemeat in each 340g tin.
The revelations have forced the supermarket chain to withdraw tens of thousands of the products from shelves in an urgent recall operation.
Scientists at Leicestershire County Council state that some samples were composed of as much as 50 per cent horsemeat although in other parts of the country, such as Leeds, the figure is thought to be lower at around 5 per cent.
The unpleasant discovery will be a blow to Asda which had hoped to have put the worst of the scandal behind it having tested over 700 products to unearth eight tainted lines.
The Walmart owned chain says it has adopted a ‘belt and braces’ approach to testing and moved quickly to remove products, it said in a statement: “In March 2013 we withdrew tinned Smart Price Corned Beef (340g) after receiving a positive test for horse DNA above the one per cent trace level set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Today, 9 April 9, tests on further batches have shown a positive result for very low levels of horse medication called phenylbutazone, also known as bute, at four parts per billion.
“The FSA has reassured us that the quantities we’ve found pose a low risk to human health. They say: "Bute is not allowed to enter the food chain; however, even if people have eaten products which contain contaminated horse meat, the risk to health is very low."