Taco Bell, Icelandic pies drawn into meat scandal

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: March 1, 2013
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LONDON (AP) — Taco Bell is the latest restaurant chain to acknowledge that its food has been adulterated with horse meat, yanking a variety of ground beef products from its three British outlets and issuing an apology to its patrons Friday.

Meanwhile, in Iceland, a food official said his team had found a beef product from a local producer that contained no meat at all.

Chief meat inspector Kjartan Hreinsson said a brand of beef pie found at a Reykjavik supermarket had "no mammalian DNA."

"That was the peculiar thing," he said. "It was labeled as beef pie, so it should be beef pie."

It should be, but across Europe meat labeled as beef has been found to be contaminated with horse — from frozen food at supermarkets to fast food in restaurants and even school and hospital meals.

Authorities say the fraudulent labeling poses no health risk, but the scandal has drawn attention to the complex supply chains behind processed meat products.

Thousands of products have been tested, and found that contamination is relatively rare. Britain's Food Standards Agency said Friday that of more than 5,400 products tested in Britain, more than 99 percent were clear of horse. Still, a steady drumbeat of brands found to contain horse meat has kept the issue in the headlines. Taco Bell joins a long list of food providers — Nestle, Burger King, Tesco, Birds Eye, Findus and even Ikea — that have had to remove products amid horse meat revelations.

British authorities said Friday that horse DNA had also been found in Birds Eye spaghetti Bolognese and beef lasagna and spicy minced beef skewers from catering company Brakes, which supplies pubs and the House of Commons Food Service.

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