Hull business caught up in horse meat row
A HULL business has found itself in the middle of the horse meat debate.
The issue first came to light when samples from a large shipment labelled as beef were found to contain up to 80 per cent horse meat.
It has now emerged it had been imported by Flexi Foods, a company based in Hull's Inglemire Lane, and sold to Irish business McAdam Foods.
The revelations led to a withdrawal of burgers from the shelves of Tesco, Asda, the Co-Op and Sainsbury's.
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A spokesman for McAdam Foods said: "Responsibility for the provenance of the shipment lay with the UK supplier.
"The UK supplier was Flexi Foods Ltd, of Hull.
"The names of every company involved have been provided to the Irish authorities and they are the subject of an investigation in Ireland by the Food Safety Authority."
The shipment of meat was ordered from Flexi Foods by McAdam and delivered in July last year.
It was to have been stored at a McAdam processing facility but had to be moved to a warehouse owned by Northern Irish business Freeza Meats because of its size.
A routine inspection by food safety officers in September discovered labelling issues with the meat, which came from Poland.
Further testing showed the presence of horse DNA.
The McAdam spokesman said: "That shipment was the first one that came to light.
"Subsequently other tests identified other shipments of meat."
Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, said the scandal could shake consumers' faith in the city's food businesses.
He said: "This is very worrying and I am concerned this will undermine confidence in Hull's meat industry.
"Consumers must have confidence the food they buy is correctly labelled."
Mr Turner said he is worried budget cuts would make problems harder to detect.
He said: "It raises serious concerns about Government cuts to the Food Standards Agency and our fragmented food labelling system.
"The budget for meat hygiene inspectors has been cut by £12m and the Food Standard Agency budget is being cut by £11m in the next 12 months.
"These cuts have increased the risk of problems going undetected."
Although Freeza Meats was storing the contaminated beef for McAdam Foods, a spokeswoman stressed it did not own the meat.
She said the company's own beef had been tested by inspectors and declared horse-free.
Flexi Foods said their lawyers were dealing with media enquiries.
Their law firm yesterday declined to comment.