The FSA’s own formal sampling programme is already well under way and being carried out by local authorities across the UK. This programme will provide further validation of the testing carried out by the food industry.
This programme includes minced beef products, such as burgers and sausages, and also ready-meals where beef is an ingredient. We expect to be in a position to release the initial findings from this sampling in early March.
Additionally, as part of the work going on across Europe, the UK has been asked to take 150 samples that are labelled as containing beef or indicate they contain beef, such as minced meat and meat products (e.g. burgers, pies and ready meals) for sale at retail, wholesale and catering outlets.
A cross-Government group is finalising the protocol and details of products to be sampled, to ensure we provide a representative sample, covering a variety of products. Samples will not include gelatine, as indications from the Commission are that this is out of scope.
Twenty-four local authorities across the UK are being recruited to carry out the sampling for this survey work (different from the 28 LAs undertaking the previous surveys) and the samples will be tested by Public Analysts.
Sampling will start on 25 February and results from the analysis will be sent to the Commission in early April 2013.
Commenting on the industry results, FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown said: 'The overwhelming majority of results, over 99%, have come back negative for the presence of horse DNA above the threshold of 1% - which is reassuring for consumers.
'However, our work is far from done. The sampling programme being carried out by local authorities on behalf of the FSA is already well under way and we expect to report the initial findings from that work in early March.
'We are also committed to pursuing enforcement action where we can, to ensure that those who were at fault take full responsibility for their actions. We are determined to get to the bottom of this to find out exactly what happened - and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.'