x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai beef cleared in new meat scare

Beef products sold in Dubai are free from horse meat contamination, the emirate's food authority has said.

DUBAI // Beef products sold in Dubai are free from horse meat contamination, the emirate's food authority said yesterday.

The announcement came after Dutch food safety authorities said they were recalling thousands of tonnes of beef from across Europe in the wake of yet another tainted meat scandal.

The meat was sold by Wiljo Import and Export and Vleesgroothandel Willy Selten, a wholesaler in Oss, in the south Netherlands. The company went bankrupt in February after the first horse meat scandal erupted across much of Europe.

Dutch authorities said they were unable to confirm the origin of an estimated 50 million kilograms of meat produced by the company between January 2011 and January this year.

So far, 130 Dutch processors who bought meat from the company have been given two weeks to trace their products. European countries including Germany, France and Spain were warned of the possible contamination.

But Dubai Municipality's food control department said yesterday that it was not aware of any of the potentially contaminated meat having reached the emirate.

"Tests conducted in the UAE have not detected any horse meat contamination in beef for any product in Dubai yet," said Asia Abdulwahab, the municipality's head of food studies and planning.

She added that Dutch authorities had also announced that there was "no known health risk to the public". However, she added: "We are still waiting for more clarity."

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority said it was "looking into the issue".

As frozen food products have a shelf life of two years, much of the contaminated meat might have already been eaten, according to a statement by the Dutch food safety organisation NVWA. "Because the origins of the meat are not clear, its safety cannot be guaranteed," it said.

In January, traces of horse and pig meat were found in frozen products sold in Europe as beef.

The companies affected were French firm Comigel, which produced the Findus lasagne found to contain 100 per cent horse meat, Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire, England, both of which are subsidiaries of ABP Food Group.

Other companies including Tesco and Iceland subsequently also found traces of horse meat and pork in their products.

cmalek@thenational.ae