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Stafford lab carries out DNA testing on meat

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

TESTING TIMES . . . Michelle Evans testing for horsemeat

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A LABORATORY in Stafford town centre has been used to test for horse DNA in processed meat products.


Staffordshire County Council is one of just seven local authorities in the country to have its own DNA testing servic. based in the same building as the county’s Martin Street Trading Standards offices.

As the horsemeat scandal rocked the country, the lab has been used to check for the presence of other animal species in processed meat products purporting to contain only beef.

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A Staffordshire County Council spokesman said: “What we do here is test products for DNA traces.

"You extract the DNA and multiply it so you can get a reading.

“We took 15 samples from across Staffordshire, from frozen meat products from supermarkets.

"Two tested positive (for horse DNA) and in total nine had contaminants such as pig DNA.”

The products containing horse DNA were burgers purchased from Asda and the Co-operative three weeks ago, which have since been withdrawn from sale, the spokesman added.

Concerns about the content of processed meat products and their safety have continued over the past week.

Stafford wedding caterers Kemp and Kemp Catering have called for a European-wide supply chain index to be shown on all food, from supermarkets and fast-food outlets to restaurants and caterers, to identify meat’s journey from farm to fork.

Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley, speaking during an urgent question in the House of Commons on Thursday, told Defra Minister David Heath: “What my constituents want to know is simply whether it is safe to eat the processed beef products currently on sale.

What is the advice of the chief medical officer and the Independent Food Standards Agency on this matter?”

The Minster responded: “All the testing that has taken place has failed to find evidence of food that is a danger to human health.

"Therefore, the clear advice is that there is no reason to change shopping habits on the basis of concerns about health.”

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