Get involved: send your pictures and news by texting Hillingdon Times to 80360, or email us
Retailers 'responsible for content'
Retailers hold the "ultimate responsibility" for making sure that horse meat is not in their products, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said.
After attending an emergency meeting with bosses from leading supermarkets and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to discuss the scandal, Mr Paterson said retailers would have to start doing their own testing.
"Ultimate responsibility for the integrity of what is sold on their label has to lie with the retailer", Mr Paterson said.
Mr Paterson said that during talks the supermarkets agreed to work with the FSA to report their test results on a quarterly basis.
Mr Paterson said investigations would find whether "either gross incompetence or criminal acts" were at fault. He warned of a possible "international criminal conspiracy" being behind the scandal.
"If there's a criminal act we will work with the authorities wherever they are to ensure the appropriate measures are taken," he added. "It's a straight fraud. If a product says it's beef and you're actually buying horse, that is a fraud. It is in the interests of everyone to get this resolved as rapidly as possible."
Bosses from leading supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons attended the meeting at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in London.
The talks come as frozen food company Findus UK reiterated its apology after tests found up to 100% horse meat in some of its beef lasagnes.
Supermarket chain Aldi confirmed that two of its ready meal ranges produced by Comigel, the French supplier also used by Findus, were found to contain between 30% and 100% horse meat. And on Friday night, the issue became a police matter as Scotland Yard announced they had met representatives from the FSA.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the matter is "shocking" and "completely unacceptable". Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I think people in the country will be quite shocked that horse meat has been in the food that they have been innocently buying. The Government has got to get a grip on this situation."