An investigation has been launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after animal DNA was found in meat-free products from Sainsbury’s and Tesco. The Daily Telegraph published a story on June 8, 2018, claiming that after an investigation conducted by the newspaper, traces of meat were found in explicitly meat-free products.
Laboratory tests found traces of pork in Sainsbury’s own brand meat-free meatballs, and traces of turkey in the BBQ Butternut Mac from the Wicked Kitchen range sold in Tesco. The FSA announced an investigation into the reports was going to be launched, however on June 11, 2018, there was still no recall of the products by the FSA or the retailers.
It is believed that ten items were sent to a lab in Germany to test for eight different types of meat in ten products. The meat-free meatballs are Vegetarian Society approved, and Lynne Elliot from the Vegetarian Society said: “The Vegetarian Society runs a trademark scheme, the purpose of which is to help customers identify vegetarian and vegan products more easily.
“We have stringent criteria that any product must meet in order to display one of our trademarks. We check ingredients and suggest alternatives where necessary, check production processes including possible cross-contamination points, offer advice on the best practise and asses risk. We conduct site visits where needed but, for example, where a facility manufactures exclusively vegetarian products, this would usually be considered unnecessary.
“It is the producers’ responsibility to ensure production processes are followed and to reduce as far as possible the chance of human error. In the likely event of a mistake happening, we are always happy to work with a producer to help minimise the chance of future occurrences.
“We have found that every company we have ever work with wants to do their absolute best for their vegetarian of vegan customers and we are proud to work with such an extensive range of companies, big and small.”
With many reasons why people actively avoid meat, from religious reasons to ethical reasons, the news of this will shock many consumers. The investigation is ongoing, with no conclusion at the time of publication.