Woolworths has announced it will test the meat used in its homebrand frozen meals, which it imports from New Zealand, to put customers’ minds at ease.
It follows the removal of frozen ready meals from the shelves of supermarket chains in over 16 European countries, including Britain, France, Sweden, and most recently The Netherlands. Each of these nations stocked products with labels specifying ‘processed beef’ as an ingredient, when in actual fact they were found to contain 100% horsemeat. The products recalled included frozen lasagna, moussaka, and shepherd’s pies.
French and UK ministers have since held crisis meetings, with France’s president Francois Hollande claiming this was “unacceptable behaviour, and sanctions must be pronounced” against the culprits responsible.
Investigators in France believe the meat to have arrived from Romania through traders from Cyprus and The Netherlands. But Romanian authorities vehemently deny the accusations; despite raids continuing throughout two implicated Romanian abattoirs.
Largely taboo in Britain and Ireland, horsemeat is sold in specialty butcher shops in France.
Rival Australian supermarkets Aldi and Coles have announced they won’t be conducting DNA tests on their frozen meals, following the path of Australia’s food, consumer and quarantine watchdogs.
A DAFF spokesman clarified that Australia don’t import beef patties or frozen mince meals from Europe, and only from pre-approved countries which already carry out DNA testing on their meats, such as New Zealand.
The NSW Food Authority also claimed that it was happy with the “species testing” it had recently conducted, of fresh meat butcher’s meat.