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RETAILERS PUBLISH MEAT TESTING RESULTS
February 15, 2013

Helen Dickinson
Director General, BRC
Retailers have carried out over a thousand tests on processed beef products over the last three weeks – two thirds of the products they set out to test. Five products tested positive for the presence of horsemeat against the Food Standards Agency's threshold.

These are the same five own brand products that have already been notified to the FSA and withdrawn from sale over the same period.

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) food retailing members agreed with the Food Standards Agency and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson last weekend that they would provide the results available so far, today (Friday). The BRC has collated the test results which show:

- The total number of tests carried out by BRC members: 1,052

- 65 per cent of the processed beef product lines retailers have set out to test have now been tested.

- Five products have tested positive against the FSA's one per cent threshold.

British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson said: "Our members take their responsibilities to customers very seriously. We are extremely disappointed by recent events and understand consumers' concern.

"We have taken decisive, extensive action to deal with incidents since mid-January and worked round the clock to gather meaningful data quickly. These are confirmed results of completed tests. They show that retailers operate to high standards and customers are right to have confidence in them and what they sell.

"We have targeted the products most associated with the original incident, and conducted more than a thousand tests over three weeks. They show five products tested above the FSA's threshold. These are not new cases. All products testing positive for horsemeat above the FSA's threshold have already been notified to the FSA and the products withdrawn as soon as the information came to light.

"The retail sector is leading the food industry in working to understand what has happened, to ensure our systems are effective and to reassure consumers. Two thirds of the processed beef products retailers set out to test have already been tested but testing will continue and more results published.

"We already operate rigorous auditing to ensure confidence in what we buy from suppliers but this may not always pick up deliberate fraud. These events have shown the need for better information sharing across Europe. We will work with the FSA, Government and supply chains to improve intelligence and systems.

"The only people who really matter are consumers and they need to know that we are thinking about long term, effective solutions to the issues that have come to light. That's exactly what we are doing."

Notes to editors:

Number of tests carried out by BRC members between 20 January and 14 February 2013:
1,052

Proportion of processed beef product lines tested so far:)
65 %

Number of products within these results that have tested positive for horsemeat against the FSA's one per cent threshold:)
5

Own brand products that have previously been notified to the FSA and withdrawn as a result of testing positive against the FSA's one per cent threshold for horsemeat. (additional products have been withdrawn by some retailers as a precautionary measure)

15 January
Tesco Everyday value frozen burgers

17 January
The Co-operative Frozen: 4 Beef Quarter Pounder Burgers Best Before End April 13

4 February
Aldi Today's Special Frozen Beef Lasagne
Aldi Today's Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese

5 February
Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese

Retailers contributing to these test results and representing over 93 % of the UK grocery market:
3663, Aldi, Asda, Coop, Iceland, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Spar, Starbucks, Tesco, Waitrose

Media Contacts:
BRC Press Office 020 7854 8924 / 020 7854 8920 / 07921 605544
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