Nestlé has removed Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini chilled pasta products from shelves in Italy and Spain as traces of horse DNA above 1 per cent were detected.
In addition, the company also withdrew Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen meat product produced in France, from sale. Nestlé further said it has suspended deliveries of all processed products containing meat from German supplier H.J. Schypke, which was subcontracted by JBS Toledo, part of Brazil-based JBS.
Meanwhile, JBS Toledo said that none of the tainted products came from its factories and clarified that H.J. Schypke “is not in any way part of the JBS Group”.
Nestlé said: “We are also enhancing our existing comprehensive quality assurance programme by adding new tests on beef for horse DNA prior to production in Europe.”
In a meeting with the UK environment secretary Owen Paterson, the British retailers and manufacturers said to complete the testing of beef products in the next two weeks.
According to Ilse Aigner, food and agriculture minister for the federal government, the 10-point plan from Germany promises to go beyond the EU programme in looking for any other undeclared additives.
Many believe equine testing is just the tip of the iceberg. “I am sure this will rapidly move on to other species,” said Adam Couch, chief executive of Cranswick, a meat and pastry goods supplier.
In its survey, consumer research group Nielsen found that more than two-thirds of British adults would be less likely to buy frozen meat products in the future. Meanwhile, sales of frozen burgers for the week ended 2 February were declined by 40 per cent.