Food Standards Agency finds another 35 positive horsemeat tests

LONDON Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:37pm GMT

Butcher Sean Basey works behind a ''no horsemeat'' sign at Bates Butchers in Market Harborough, central England, February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Butcher Sean Basey works behind a ''no horsemeat'' sign at Bates Butchers in Market Harborough, central England, February 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - The Food Standards Agency said it had found another 35 positive tests for horsemeat in beef products, confirming the latest contaminations in a scandal still spreading across Europe.

The FSA said on Friday it had conducted 3634 tests, 3599 of which had come back negative for horsemeat levels above 1 percent, with 35 results testing positive for horsemeat at or above 1 percent.

It said these products had already been named and withdrawn from sale and added that no tests to date on samples containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).

The scandal, which erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horsemeat, has since spread across Europe, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the continent's complex food-processing chains.

The UK's FSA said last week that it had found 29 samples of horsemeat in the food chain in tests carried out on samples demanded from UK retailers, and has since announced plans for a wider testing of meat products.

The regulator has asked the industry to test for horse down to a level of 1 percent as some laboratories can only test accurately to that level. It also believes any level above that would not be accidental.

It will give a further update on test results next Friday.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Brenda Goh)

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