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Beef shipment blocked in horse-meat contamination probe

packagedmeatA Dutch agency has blocked the shipment of 690 tonnes of beef product from an abattoir over concerns of horse-meat contamination.

The Dutch food safety agency NVWA described the move as a preventative measure, after horse meat was found in four shipments labelled as beef products.

The slaughterhouse in question is in the eastern province of Gelderland.

The decision to block the shipment from the abattoir’s freezers will allow the company’s management team to produce necessary documentation on the meat’s source.

The NVWA said in a statement: “During a criminal investigation … horse DNA was discovered in four samples of beef from the wholesaler.

“All meat, some 690 tonnes stored in the abattoir’s fridges, has been blocked [from sale] until they can show its origin.”

The agency is also checking into the horse-purchase records of the abattoir.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the Food Safety Agency has published the third quarterly report of industry results from the testing of beef products for horse meat or horse DNA.

No results found horse meat at or above the 1 percent reporting threshold, the agency said.

The report included 6069 new results, of which 3333 were submitted by ABP Food Group.

These figures included all test results submitted since the compilation of the second quarterly report, published in October 2013.

A total of 38,473 beef results tested for horse meat have been submitted by the food industry to the agency since  February 15, 2013, when the horse-meat contamination scandal across Europe was at its height. Of these, 47 were positive.

An extensive programme of testing by Britain’s food industry and local authorities started in February 2013, at the request of the agency.

The discovery of horse-meat contamination in processed beef products resulted in millions of ready-made meals being pulled from supermarket freezers across Europe.

The scandal highlighted the complexities of the food chain and its vulnerability to rogue meat traders.

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