Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Besieged Labs Struggle to Cope with Volume of Horse Meat Tests

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Besieged Labs Struggle to Cope with Volume of Horse Meat Tests

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

CONSUMERS will be kept in the dark for weeks about whether horse meat is in some beef products as laboratories struggle to cope with a flood of test requests.

Results today were expected to confirm that horse, chicken, pork and lamb have been found in some beef meals. It also emerged today that horse meat has been supplied for patients' meals in hospitals.

The Food Standards Agency was announcing today that just a proportion of the tests have been completed, possibly as low as about a third, on hundreds or products.

Dr Frank Hollywood, head of Staffordshire Scientific Services, said that nine out of 15 beef samples tested at his laboratory had other meats including horse, chicken, pork and lamb or mutton.

"From our results, we know that many of the samples contained other species," he said. "It's surprising ... It's high."

Burgers containing horse meat have been supplied to hospitals in Northern Ireland, it emerged this morning. David Bingham from the health service's Business Services Organisation, which provides meat for health trusts, said a range from a company in the Republic of Ireland had been withdrawn.

As the horse meat scandal deepened, Downing Street clashed with supermarkets and other food retailers for staying off the airwaves and TV channels. A No 10 source said: "It isn't acceptable for retailers to remain silent."

But Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, hit back, saying: "Retailers have not been reticent, they have been working hard over the last three weeks since this issue first arose to make sure any problems they do identify they act on quickly. And we have seen them do that, withdrawing products straight away from our shops." Another retail source added: "Nobody is trying to hide away. We come face to face with our customers every single day. …

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