UK 'not affected' by food recall
Nestle has said its supplier caught up in a horse meat recall in Italy, Spain and France is not used for the UK market, but it is checking on the status of local testing.
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.
Nestle - the world's biggest food company - said it enhanced testing of its products after reports first emerged in the UK about the fraudulent mislabelling of beef.
A statement on its website said: "We are now suspending deliveries of all our finished products produced using beef supplied by a German firm, HJ Schypke, a subcontractor of one of our suppliers, JBS Toledo.
"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. There is no food safety issue, but the mislabelling of products means they fail to meet the very high standards consumers expect from us.
"Therefore we are voluntarily removing two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini from sale in Italy and Spain immediately, and we will replace them with product confirmed by DNA testing to be made from 100% beef. Lasagnes a la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen meat product for catering businesses by Nestle Professional produced in France will also be withdrawn from sale and replaced with product made from 100% beef."
The recall comes as the food industry and authorities move to restore consumer confidence.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said on Monday the food retail industry was "absolutely determined" to restore confidence in its products as Germany announced it was planning tighter controls on meat products and stronger penalties for companies that violate food-labelling rules.
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".
Nestle later confirmed that tests on all of its processed beef products sold in the UK and Ireland, consisting of seven Jenny Craig products and two Gerber baby food products, had confirmed no presence of horse DNA. The company said in a statement: "Nestle UK is part of the industry reporting process and these results will be submitted via the Food and Drink Federation, our industry body, to the Food Standards Agency in this week's reporting cycle. We will continue to test our products in accordance with the FSA's priorities and the results will be reported to the FSA."