Case Study: Halting horsemeat contamination

Halting horsemeat contamination

LGC, the London Government Chemist, played a crucial role in helping the UK government robustly address the 2013 horsemeat issue. The rapid development of reference materials for meat species alongside the provision of the first proficiency testing scheme for horsemeat in beef provided essential support for routine laboratories which contributed to resolving the incident and restoring consumer confidence.

LGC prepared and delivered meats and mixtures down to 0.1 % adulteration for horse and pig meat in beef. These were used as reference materials by Public Analyst laboratories analysing samples for the government horsemeat surveys.

The action taken by industry, government and LGC minimised the disruption to the ~£3 billion/year UK beef market and ultimately helped to restore flagging consumer confidence in processed meat products as quickly as was practically possible. Within a year, beef consumption increased to pre-horsemeat issue levels despite a £95 million drop in consumer spending during 2013.

Further information can be found on the LGC website. 

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