'Criminal conspiracy' behind horse meat
Horse meat found in a number of beef products at UK retailers could be the result of a "criminal conspiracy", the Environment Secretary has said.
The Food Standards Agency has ordered food companies to test their beef products, following the discovery that Findus lasagnes contained up to 100% horse meat.
The company has withdrawn 180,000 of the ready meals, with shoppers warned not to buy them. It also emerged this evening that supermarket chain Aldi has withdrawn a number of beef products are discovering traces of horse meat.
The FSA said it was "highly likely" the contamination arose from criminal activity, while Owen Paterson said he had a "nasty feeling" that illegal traders were involved.
"I’ve got a nasty feeling it’s actually a criminal conspiracy, and that’s why it’s quite right for the FSA to engage the Metropolitan Police, who are working with other police forces across the mainland of Europe," the Environment Secretary told BBC News tonight.
Labour's Mary Creagh has contacted the police this evening to pass on information concerning UK companies potentially involved in the illegal trading of horse meat.
"I hope that this information will enable the police to act speedily to stamp out these criminals who are putting the future of the British food industry at risk," she said.
David Cameron told assembled reporters in Brussels that the discovery of horse meat in beef products was "completely unacceptable".