Evira prepares to carry out spot checks for horse meat

18.2.2013

<p>The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira reiterates that food product safety is primarily founded on producer accountability. All operators in the food chain are in their part responsible for ensuring that foodstuffs comply with required standards and are safe. Food packaging must bear statutory labelling with details of the composition of the food, as well as other information. If the food contains meat, the list of ingredients must specify the species of the meat.</p>

Evira is preparing to examine foodstuffs by taking spot checks in order to establish whether or not products contain horse meat labelled as beef. A sampling plan is currently being prepared, under which Evira will instruct municipal controlling authorities to take samples from foods in different parts of Finland.

The Standing Committee of European Union member states decides on the matter on Tuesday 19 February following a proposal by the Commission. The Commission’s proposal recommends that all member states apply DNA analysis spot checks to establish the possibly undeclared horse meat content in foods. In Finland, this means analysing 50 samples. In addition, it is recommended that the member states analyse horse meat to establish if the meat contains phenylbutazone as drug residues. In Finland, this means analysing less than ten samples. No drug preparations containing phenylbutazone are used in Finland for horses or other animals. In Finland, phenylbutazone is already included in national contaminant control, and horse meat is tested annually.

The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira is the body responsible for implementing the recommendation in Finland. Evira will issue further bulletins on progress of the sampling and analysis. There is no new information at the moment.

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