‘Horsemeat beefburgers’ investigated in UK and Ireland

thCAY3V95AInvestigations are under way to try to find out how beefburgers on sale in UK and Irish Republic supermarkets became contaminated with horsemeat.

Irish food safety officials, who carried out tests two months ago, said the products had been stocked by a number of chains including Tesco and Iceland stores in the UK.

They said there was no human health risk and the burgers had been removed.

Tesco said it was “working… to ensure it does not happen again”.

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to “urgently investigate” how the products came to contain horsemeat.

The investigation will trace the meat back to its source to “find the cause of the contamination”.

The FSA has also called a meeting of food industry representatives.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which is conducting similar inquiries, said the meat had come from two processing plants in the Irish Republic – Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods – and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in North Yorkshire.

The burgers had been on sale in Tesco and Iceland in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, where they were also on sale in Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi.

A total of 27 burger products were analysed, with 10 of them containing traces of horse DNA and 23 containing pig DNA.

‘Extremely serious’

Horsemeat accounted for approximately 29% of the meat content in one sample from Tesco, which had two frozen beefburger products sold in both the UK and Ireland contaminated with horse DNA.

In addition, 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, were analysed, of which 21 tested positive for pig DNA.

FSAI director of consumer protection Raymond Ellard said several investigations would now need to take place.

He said: “The companies have taken a very responsible attitude. On a voluntary basis they have withdrawn products from sale, so have the retailers.

Irish Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney: ”There is no food safety risk”

“They are co-operating completely with the authorities here to investigate how this could have happened. A long chain of inquiry has to take place now to look at all the raw ingredients that we use for these productions, where they came from and how the cross-contamination could have occurred.”

Tesco group technical director Tim Smith stressed the company “immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question” after receiving the test results on Tuesday.

In a statement, Mr Smith said food safety and quality was “of the highest importance to Tesco” and “the presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious”.

He added Tesco was “working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again”.

FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said there was “a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products, due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants”.

But he added: “There is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process.

“In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and, therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger.

“Likewise, for some religious groups, or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable.”

‘Quality and integrity’

Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney reassured the public that the burgers posed no health risk, adding that the Republic of Ireland “probably has the best traceability and food safety in the world”.

Iceland said the FSAI’s findings were concerning, stressing the company had “withdrawn from sale the two Iceland brand quarter pounder burger lines implicated in the study”.

It said it “would be working closely with its suppliers to investigate this issue and to ensure that all Iceland brand products meet the high standards of quality and integrity that we specify and which our customers are entitled to expect”.

Aldi said only one of its products – the Oakhurst Beef Burgers (8 pack), which was on sale only in the Republic of Ireland – had been affected.

In a statement, Aldi Stores (Ireland) said it had “immediately removed the product from sale and have launched an investigation into the matter”.

The company said it “takes the quality of all its products extremely seriously and demands the highest standards from its suppliers”.

Lidl was not available for comment when contacted by the BBC.

Meanwhile, Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak both said they had never bought or traded in horse product and have launched an investigation into two continental European third-party suppliers.


Source – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21038521

Northants Vegan Outreach & Northants Veggies take over Veggie World

veggieworldWe have booked Veggie World in Bletchley for the night – there will be a total of 38 places – will either be a set menu or buffet – price will be confirmed nearer the time but approximately £20/25. per head not including drinks – an advance deposit will be required – please contact us either by phone or e-mail if you would like to come along.

Event date – 22nd Feb

Event time – 20.00

Location – Veggie World, 150-152 Queensway, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 2RS

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/515323398490255/

Contact – Sue 07706 459137 / northantsveganoutreach@gmail.com

Green House Menu, Jan/Feb 2013

joulesyard056256January & February Menu

Available 17th 18th 24th 25th 31st January & 1st February


Parsnip & Wild Rice Mulligatawny (v, gfo)                                                 £4.25

apple, turmeric, coconut milk, coriander

Goats Cheese, Thyme & Cranberry Tartlet                                            £4.50

served with fresh leaves

Walnut & Mushroom Pâté (v, gfo)                                                             £4.50

served with toast


Haggis with Orkney Clapshot & Braised Red Cabbage (vo)                       £8.25

clapshot = neeps & tatties topped with Scottish cheddar

Chinese Pancakes with Mock Duck, Chestnut Mushrooms & Red Onion (v) £8.25

served with hoisin sauce, sesame seeds, cucumber & spring onion

Vegetable Lasagne (vo)                                                                           £7.50

served with salad & garlic bread

Bites on the Side

Potato wedges & sweet chilli dip (v) or mayonnaise (vo, gf)

Mixed salad (v, gf) Garlic bread (vo, gfo)                                           each £2.50

Sample Dessert List

Apple, Berry & Orange Suet Pudding (v)                                        from £3.95

Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake (v)

Banoffee Pie (v, gfo)

Christmas Pud Ice Cream & Fudge Sauce (v)

Homemade Ice Cream & Sorbet (vo, gfo)

Mass Production of Animals

East Midlands Green Party Blog

Animal mass production includes not only meat production, but also eggs and dairy.

I feel very strongly about the unnecessary cruelty to animals. When I tried to watch an educational film showing the conditions in intensive animal farms and slaughter houses, I started to cry within a few seconds and was not able to continue to watch. This has deeply upset me. When I see a suffering animal, I can empathically sense their pain. Cosumers seem to dissociate themselves from the reality of animal production, in order to be able to eat their £2 chicken without feeling guilty.

Besides the cruelty, there are many other reasons why we need to reduce our consumption of animal products. Our nation is suffering from an obesity epidemic and other health complications that are associated with a diet high in meat and dairy products. However, other serious health risks will be caused by the overuse of antibiotics, used to limit…

View original post 157 more words

logoAmendments to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 came into force on January 1. 

The amended version of ASPA has been introduced to align UK legislation with European Directive 2010/63/EU. The Home Office has produced guides for researchers to help them with the changes.

The ‘quick start’ guide provides advice on what the revised ASPA covers and guidance to holders of establishment licences, project licences and personal licences and new licence applicants. It also provides guidance on severity classification, humane killing and the accommodation and care of animals. More detailed draft guidance, covering more topics, will be published later in January for consultation.

A transitional guide sets out details of changes that researchers must make immediately in order to comply with the new regulations. It also details changes that will happen automatically.

The new law requires re-authorisation for some activities and some types of animal, and the transitional guide sets out details of those amendments. For example, all cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus) are now protected. Under the old regulations only Octopus vulgaris was included.

The new rules also increase control of breeding of some frog species and zebra fish. Increased use of fish in regulatory testing accounted for a significant rise in the number of animals used for toxicology (safety testing) in the last Home Office statistics on the use of animals in laboratories in the UK.

Copies of the guides can be found here:
(Both link to the Home Office website)
Quick start

Northants Vegan Outreach New Year Meet and Greet

372901_194779590663105_1614354992_nFollowing on from the success of the first Vegan and Cruelty Free Fayre Northats Vegan Outreach would like to invite you all to their first Meet and Greet.  There will be vegan food and drinks lovingly made by volunteers and good company!  All are welcome, whether you are Vegan, Vegetarian or Omnivore!  Have you decided to change to a more cruelty free lifestyle as a New Year’s Resolution?  Then this is the perfect get together to gather information in an informal and friendly atmosphere.
It’s on Saturday 5th January from 15:00 until 17:00 at Animals in Need, Pine Tree Farm, London Road, Little Irchester.

Can Antibiotics Make You Fat?

fat_425x320Like hospital patients, US farm animals tend to be confined to tight spaces and dosed with antibiotics. But that’s where the similarities end. Hospitals dole out antibiotics to save lives. On America’s factory-scale meat farms, the goal is to fatten animals for their date at the slaughterhouse.

And it turns out that antibiotics help with the fattening process. Back in the 1940s, scientists discovered that regular low doses of antibiotics increased “feed efficiency”—that is, they caused animals to put on more weight per pound of feed. No one understood why, but farmers seized on this unexpected benefit. By the 1980s, feed laced with small amounts of the drugs became de rigueur as US meat production shifted increasingly to factory farms. In 2009, an estimated 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States went to livestock.

This year, scientists may have finally figured out why small doses of antibiotics “promote growth,” as the industry puts it: They make subtle changes to what’s known as the “gut microbiome,” the teeming universe populated by billions of microbes that live within the digestive tracts of animals. In recent research, the microbiome has been emerging as a key regulator of health, from immune-related disorders like allergies and asthma to the ability to fight off pathogens.

In an August study published in Nature, a team of New York University researchers subjected mice to regular low doses of antibiotics—just like cows, pigs, and chickens get on factory farms. The result: After seven weeks, the drugged mice had a different composition of microbiota in their guts than the control group—and they had gained 10 to 15 percent more fat mass.

Why? “Microbes in our gut are able to digest certain carbohydrates that we’re not able to,” says NYU researcher and study coauthor Ilseung Cho. Antibiotics seem to increase those bugs’ ability to break down carbs—and ultimately convert them to body fat. As a result, the antibiotic-fed mice “actually extracted more energy from the same diet” as the control mice, he says. That’s great if you’re trying to fatten a giant barn full of hogs. But what about that two-legged species that’s often exposed to antibiotics?

Interestingly, the NYU team has produced another recent paper looking at just that question. They analyzed data from a UK study in the early ’90s to see if they could find a correlation between antibiotic exposure and kids’ weight. The study involved more than 11,000 kids, about a third of whom had been prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection before the age of six months. The results: The babies who had been exposed to antibiotics had a 22 percent higher chance of being overweight at age three than those who hadn’t (though by age seven the effect had worn off).

The connection raises another obvious question: Are we being exposed to tiny levels of antibiotics through residues in the meat we eat—and are they altering our gut flora? It turns out that the Food and Drug Administration maintains tolerance limits for antibiotic residue levels, above which meat isn’t supposed to be released to the public (PDF). But Keeve Nachman, who researches antibiotic use in the meat industry for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, told me that the FDA sets these limits based solely on research financed and conducted by industry—and it refuses to release the complete data to the public or consider independent research.

“We may not understand the biological relevance of exposures through consuming meat at those levels,” he says. Indeed, a recent European study showed that tiny levels of antibiotics could have an effect on microorganisms. The researchers took some meat, subjected it to antibiotic residues near the US limit, and used a traditional technique to turn it into sausage, inoculating it with lactic-acid-producing bacteria. In normal sausage making, the lactic acid from the starter bacteria spreads through the meat and kills pathogens like E. coli. The researchers found, though, that the antibiotic traces were strong enough to impede the starter bacteria, while still letting the E. coli flourish. In other words, even at very low levels, antibiotics can blast “good” bacteria—and promote deadly germs.

Nachman stressed that we simply don’t have sufficient information to tell whether the meat we eat is messing with our gut microbiome. But, he adds, “It’s not an unreasonable suspicion.” If that’s not enough to churn your stomach, there’s also the fact that drug-resistant bugs—which often emerge in antibiotic-dosed livestock on factory farms—are increasingly common: Remember the super-salmonella that caused Cargill to recall 36 million pounds of ground turkey last year? Luckily for me, it’s unlikely that drug-laced meat will mess with my gut. I think I’ve lost my appetite.