Dutch authorities recall 50,000 tonnes of meat which was sold as beef across Europe, but may contain horsemeat.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) said on Wednesday that it was recalling the meat because the origins of the meat is “unclear or unknown”, and that “its safety cannot be guaranteed.”
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said on Wednesday that “a small number of UK businesses may have received products from the company implicated in [the Dutch] investigation”, adding that it was following up with these companies “as a matter of urgency”.
In a statement, the NVWA said that an examination of the records of two Dutch companies, Wiljo Import and Export and Willy Selten had found the origins of the meat was unclear.
Because of the unclear origin of the consignments of meat, the food safety of the meat is not guaranteed. NVWA
Wiljo and Willy have around 130 Dutch customers, and 370 customers from different European countries, including Germany, France and Spain.
The statement read: “Because of the unclear origin of the consignments of meat, the food safety of the meat is not guaranteed.
Read more: Horsemeat - from European factory to supermarket shelf
“Therefore, the NVWA has deemed the product unfit for human consumption.
“At this moment there are no concrete indications that there is a danger to public health.”
Dutch authorities began a large-scale investigation into the country’s meat industry in February following revelations across Europe that horse meat was being sold as beef. However the Dutch authorities conceded that much of the meat now under suspicion may have already been consumed.
The news came less than a day after UK supermarket Asda recalled tins of corned beef having found minute traces of the horse painkiller bute in some products withdrawn from sale after being found to contain horsemeat.