Traces of horse meat have been found in burgers on sale in some of the Ireland's busiest supermarkets, food safety chiefs have revealed.
Scientific tests on beef products sold in Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland uncovered low levels of the animal's DNA. Offending burgers have been sold in Tesco stores in Ireland and the UK.
According to sources Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), said there was no health risk but also no reasonable explanation for horse meat to be found.
"Whilst there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process," Prof Reilly said.
"We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again," a Tesco spokesman said. To add insult to injury, a Lidl said spokesman said "it has taken the decision to remove all implicated products from sale pending a full investigation."A refund will be provided to customers who wish to return affected products."