Horsemeat Investigation Timeline

Update on Agency’s beef product survey - 9 April - FSA
The FSA has confirmed results for four of the remaining five samples relating to the Agency’s UK-wide sampling programme of beef products. All five of the products were withdrawn from sale following receipt of the first test results.

Slaughterhouse suspension lifted - 8 March - FSA
On February 12, the FSA announced that it had suspended operations at Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse, Todmorden, West Yorkshire as part of its ongoing investigation into the mislabelling of meat products. The FSA has now decided to lift the suspension of the approval of this slaughterhouse, which means it will once again be allowed to operate.

Update on progress of FSA beef product surveys - 8 March - FSA
Sampling of the first and second phases of the Food Standards Agency's UK-wide survey of beef products has been completed and the initial test results published today. The results show that 212 of the 224 samples taken in phase one are negative for both horse and pig DNA at or above the 1% threshold.

EU agencies to advise on risks from phenylbutazone in horsemeat - 7 March - EFSA
The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to carry out a joint assessment of the risks to human health from the presence in horsemeat of residues of the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone.

Third FSA update on testing of beef products for horse DNA - 1 March - FSA
The FSA has received the third set of test results from the food industry, which has been checking for the presence of horse DNA in products that are labelled as beef.

Update on EU sampling programme - 28 February - FSA
The FSA is has published further details of the European Union sampling programme that was agreed by member states and announced by the FSA last week

Owen Paterson statement following EU Council meeting on horsemeat – 25 February - Defra
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson releases a statement following the EU Agriculture Council where the European-wide horsemeat fraud was discussed

Horsemeat test results: Environment Secretary Owen Paterson statement - 22 February - Defra
Following the Food Standards Agency’s second publication of industry test results of beef products for the presence of horse DNA, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has released a statement

Burger company withdraws products - 21 February - FSA
Testing carried out by Powys County Council, as requested by the FSA, has shown that three samples of beef burger products made by catering supplier, The Burger Manufacturing Company (BMC), have tested positive for at least 1% horse meat.

FSA meat testing survey expanded - 19 February  - FSA
The Food Standards Agency has expanded its UK-wide survey of food authenticity in processed meat products being carried out through local authorities. The survey, expanded to ensure that a wider range of products are sampled, will include a total of 514 products.

Horsemeat contamination: Owen Paterson statement following meeting with food businesses - 18 February - Defra
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson met with representatives of food businesses including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and trade associations to discuss the response to the presence of horsemeat in some processed beef products.

Owen Paterson statement on FSA publication of first industry horsemeat test results – 15 February - Defra
Following the Food Standards Agency’s publication of the first set of industry results from tests of beef products for the presence of horse DNA, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson issues a statement.

Update on police investigations into horse meat - 15 February - FSA
Further to the arrests made on 14 February in Wales and West Yorkshire in relation to suspected fraud, there have been seizures of evidence in Hull and London

FSA publishes industry test results on beef products - 15 February - FSA
The Food Standards Agency  publishes the first set of industry results from beef products that have been tested for the presence of horse DNA.

Arrests made at meat plants - 14 February - FSA
Dyfed-Powys Police have today made arrests at both meat plants inspected by the Food Standards Agency on Tuesday

Owen Paterson statement following Europol meeting in the Hague on horse meat – 14 February - Defra

Latest bute test results on horse carcasses - 14 February - FSA
The Food Standards Agency's most recent tests on the presence of phenylbutazone (bute) in horses slaughtered in the UK checked 206 horse carcasses between 30 January 2013 and 7 February 2013. Of these, eight tested positive for the drug.

Statement from Minister of State David Heath following meeting with food industry - 13 February - Defra
Minister of State David Heath issues a statment after his meeting with major retailers, food distributors on a plan of action to deal with the problem of horsemeat in processed beef products.

Written Ministerial Statement on horsemeat investigation – 13 February - Defra
The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson issues a written ministerial statement to Parliament, which includes an update on the audit of all horse abattoirs in the UK and ongoing investigation into the mislabelling of meat products.

EU debates tighter food labelling rules after horsemeat scandal – 13 February - EurActiv
EU ministers in charge of agriculture and food safety are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (13 February) to consider the wider implications of the recent discovery of horsemeat in beef products.

FSA raids meat plant involved in alleged supply of horse meat – 12 February – FSA
As part of its ongoing investigation into the mislabelling of meat products, the FSA and police  entered two meat premises, one in West Yorkshire and the other in West Wales.

Testing for horse DNA – advice from the labs – 12 February - RSSL
Having offered a DNA test for horse for more than ten years, RSSL is advising the food industry to understand the limitations of testing before rushing to test. With so many companies in the food chain under pressure to publish results, there is a danger that companies may make the wrong choices in testing.

Horsemeat in UK food chain: statement from Chief Medical Officer - 11 February - DoH
The Chief Medical Officer notes that they are working closely with FSA and Defra to investigate how horsemeat got into the UK food chain stating there is nothing to suggest a safety risk to consumers who may have eaten the products. All of the retailers involved so far have removed potentially affected products from their shelves.

Oral Statement to the House on food fraud – 11 February - Defra
Owen Patterson provides an update to the House on recent developments on horsemeat and food fraud. He reiterate that he completely understand why people are so concerned about this issue. It is unacceptable that people have been deceived in this way. There appears to have been criminal activity in an attempt to de-fraud the consumer. The prime responsibility for dealing with this lies with retailers and food producers who need to demonstrate that they have taken all necessary actions to ensure the integrity of the food chain in this country.

Horsemeat in the EU food chain – 11 February - EFSA
EFSA is aware of the contamination of beef products with horsemeat in the EU food chain. The source is currently being investigated by risk managers across Europe, who have requested extensive testing to be carried out.

Tesco finds horse meat in some Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese – 11 February – FSA
Tesco has this evening announced that it has found horse meat in some Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese.

FSA statement on horse testing -  11 February  – FSA

Following tonight's announcement by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, the Food Standards Agency has announced that it has begun a system of 'positive release' for horses slaughtered in the UK. This means that horse carcasses will require a negative phenylbutazone (bute) test before they are allowed to enter the food chain.

FSA issues advice to public institutions on meat products – 10 February – FSA
The Food Standards Agency is issuing interim advice to public institutions, such as schools and hospitals, caterers, and consumers purchasing from caterers, in the light of the developing horse meat issue

Statement from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson following the meeting with food businesses –  9 February - Defra

FSA statement from meeting on contaminated meat – 9 February – FSA
Following today's meeting between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Food Standards Agency, and representatives from the food industry regarding the ongoing contaminated meat incident, it has been agreed that the industry will deliver meaningful results from its testing programme by Friday 15 February.

Listen to a podcast of Barbara Hirst from RSSL talk about Species Identification  - 8 February – on BBC Radio 4 PM Programme (35:15 minutes in)

Statement from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson on contaminated meat - 8 February - Defra

Aldi withdraws beef products due to horse meat – 8 February – FSA
Aldi has withdrawn two beef products tonight after its tests found horse meat in samples; the Food Standards Agency has issued advice to other retailers or producers that have sourced beef products from the French company Comigel.

FSA statement on horse meat investigation – 8 February – FSA
The FSA has, this morning, issued a further statement about the horse meat issue.

Update on FSA and industry testing programme – 7 February – FSA
The Food Standards Agency has announced it is demanding a more comprehensive meat testing programme from food businesses.

Findus beef lasagne products found with horse meat – 7 February – FSA
As part of its ongoing investigation into mislabelled meat, the Food Standards Agency has confirmed that the meat content of beef lasagne products recalled by Findus has tested positive for more than 60% horse meat.

Meat testing protocol published by FSA – 6 February – FSA
The Food Standards Agency has published the protocol for the UK-wide survey of food authenticity in processed meat products. This has been drawn up in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the devolved rural affairs departments and local authorities.

NI cold store tests find horse meat – 4 February – FSA
As part of its ongoing investigation into mislabelled meat, the FSA has tested a quantity of frozen meat currently detained in a cold store on the premises of a company called Freeza Meats in Northern Ireland, which is potentially linked to the Silvercrest factory in the Republic of Ireland.

FSA issues statement following Ministry of Justice announcement about non Halal meat - 1 February – FSA
The Food Standards Agency has been informed that a number of meat pies and pasties supplied to prisons in England and Wales were labelled and served as Halal but contained traces of pork DNA. The local authority is investigating how this contamination came about and whether these products have been distributed further across the UK.

Third update on investigation into horse and pig DNA in beef products – 25 January - FSA
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today received the results of tests conducted on samples taken from the Dalepak plant by North Yorkshire Trading Standards.

FSA issues statement on bute in horse meat – 24 January - FSA
The Agency has updated its statement on bute in horse meat. In 2012, the FSA identified nine cases where horses tested positive for bute. Seven were exported for the food chain.

Second update on investigation into horse and pig DNA in beef products – 18 January - FSA
The retailers and UK processor that were named in the investigation by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) into horse and pig DNA in beef products have provided additional information to the Food Standards Agency.

FSA investigation into horse DNA found in some burgers – 16 January - FSA
As the next step in the investigation into the results of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland survey of beef products, the Food Standards Agency has met this afternoon with representatives from the food industry (producers, processors and retailers) from all parts of the UK.

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