UK horse meat scandal heats up

AAP

Britain's environment secretary will hold an emergency meeting with the food safety authority (FSA) to discuss a deepening scandal over horse meat in processed food.

"The evidence so far suggests that it's either criminal activity or gross negligence," said the secretary, Owen Paterson, though he added that there was no reason to think the products were unsafe.

Frozen food company Findus and supermarket chains Tesco and Aldi have all been forced to recall products labelled as beef which, tests showed, contained up to 100 per cent horse meat.

"We believe that the two particular cases of the frozen burgers from Tesco and the lasagne from Findus are linked to suppliers in Ireland and France respectively," said Paterson.

Retailers and meat suppliers were also to attend the meeting on Saturday. The FSA has ordered all food retailers to test their processed beef products.

Scotland Yard said police had met with FSA representatives but that no official criminal investigation had been launched so far.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the issue was not about food safety, but rather about accurate food labelling, adding that it would be hard to restore confidence in the food industry.

"People will be very angry to find out they have been eating horse when they thought they were eating beef," he said.

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