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FSAI Horse Meat Incident Survey 2013

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


In a 2013 survey conducted as part of the FSAI monitoring and surveillance programme on labelling of foods, an FSAI study examined the presence of DNA from cattle, pigs and horses in a number of meat products.

The test method involved DNA extraction from the food product and then the amplification of specific pieces of DNA through the enzymatic process known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). This allowed us to detect very low quantities of horse, pig and beef DNA.

The survey included 27 beef burger products where it was found 10 (37%) were positive for equine DNA. None of the samples positive for equine DNA were labelled as containing horse meat.

The Aftermath of the Horse Meat Incident

This survey researched the impact of the horse meat contamination issue on Irish consumer confidence and trust in the food they purchase.  The survey revealed significant changes in consumers’ purchasing habits with over half (51%) of people who purchased frozen burgers in the past now buying less of these products (48% buy the same amount).

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Scientific Reports |