Press release

Horsemeat contamination: Owen Paterson statement following meeting with food businesses

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today met representatives of food businesses.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today met representatives of food businesses including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and trade associations to discuss the response to the presence of horsemeat in some processed beef products.

At the meeting, food businesses right through the supply chain agreed to do their level best to report back as many testing results as possible to the FSA by Friday 22 February.

Mr Paterson said:

“This was a most constructive meeting, with a real sense of commitment from everyone that all food businesses, from throughout the industry, are determined to work together to rebuild the certainty and trust consumers deserve.

“I welcome the food businesses’ commitment to testing their products. They all assured me that they will not rest until they have established the full picture. There is still much to be done to find out exactly how this happened and how it can be prevented from happening again, and to do everything possible to reassure consumers about the food on our shelves.”

Mr Paterson updated food businesses including retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers on progress in the investigation in the UK and across Europe. He also reported back on his meetings in Europe, including with Europol with whom FSA have instigated action. Representatives of the food businesses gave an update on the tests being undertaken on beef products, and discussed next steps in restoring consumer confidence.

An update on test results from throughout the food industry will be published by the FSA next Friday, with a further update to be published on Friday 1 March. After that, food businesses will update the FSA on their tests results every three months.

Mr Paterson and the food businesses agreed that regular meetings with companies and organisations from throughout the industry would take place to discuss ways to strengthen the food industry.