Food standards agency investigates presence of meat in 'vegan' products
The Food Standards Agency in the UK is investigating allegations that animal DNA has been found in certain vegan products.

Traces of pork and turkey have been found in two separate "meat-free" branded products, The Daily Telegraph has claimed. The newspaper said laboratory tests found traces of pork in Sainsbury's own brand "meat-free" meatballs and turkey in Tesco's new "Wicked Kitchen" vegan macaroni.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK said the laboratory results have not been shared with the agency, but it is investigating the claims.

Confident

"Our priority is to ensure consumers can be confident that the food they eat is safe and is what it says it is," a spokesperson for the FSA said. "We are investigating the circumstances surrounding these alleged incidents and any resulting action will depend upon the evidence found.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: "We take the quality and integrity of our products extremely seriously and understand that our vegan and vegetarian products should be exactly that. Our initial DNA tests have found no traces of animal DNA in the BBQ Butternut Mac product available in stores today. We would urge the Telegraph to share full details of their testing, including the lab used as we continue to investigate.”

Sainsbury's said its products are produced at a meat-free factory.

"Sainsbury’s and the Vegetarian Society also carry out regular checks and no issues have been found," a spokesperson for the retailer said. “We have urgently investigated these findings, including extensive DNA analysis, and can find no evidence. Our investigation is ongoing.”

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The farmer's daily wrap: pig protests continue and lira threatens exports
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Friday 17 August.

Weather forecast

Tonight will see increasing cloud bringing outbreaks of rain and drizzle to western counties. Lowest temperatures will range from 10-12°C.

Tomorrow, Friday, will see a cloudy morning with rain and drizzle, persistent across the north of the country but patchy in the south. In the afternoon and evening the skies will gradually brighten but with showers over Ulster and Connacht.

In the news

  • Pig farmers are holding their third protest in less than a week in Charleville SuperValu, Co Cork.
  • Lamb factories are processing their largest kill as the Eid al-Adha festival sees increased demand.
  • A collapse in the Turkish lira is threatening live exports.
  • Minister of state Michael D’Arcy has attracted criticism for saying vulture funds are easier to deal with than banks.
  • A farmer has agreed to abide by a High Court order after spending a few hours in Mountjoy.
  • Coming up this Friday

  • See The Dealer’s take on the week gone by.
  • We have the latest agbiz shares update.
    Pig farmers hold third protest in under a week
    Charleville in Co Cork is the location of the latest pig farmer protest against the volume of foreign product for sale in SuperValu stores.

    Pig farmers are holding their third protest in SuperValu in less than a week in a bid to highlight low prices and cheap imports. Following protests in SuperValus in Castletroy, Co Limerick and Kilbarry, Co Waterford, farmers have now taken to Charleville in Co Cork.

    In a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal, IFA pigs committee chair Tom Hogan said farmers were losing €6,000/week and they wanted to see Musgraves and SuperValu selling 100% Irish pigmeat.

    Highlight

    The protesting farmers want to highlight the volume of foreign product being sold in SuperValu stores and the use of brands that sound Irish such as “Meadow Fields” but are actually from Holland.

    Pig farmers have said these cheap foreign imports are being used to undercut their product at a time when feed prices are rising. This, Tim Cullinan IFA national treasurer, says is creating a “perfect storm” that has the pig sector at crisis point.

    Read more

    Weekly podcast: fodder import support and pig farmer protest

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    Mounting slaughter delays causing frustration for sheep farmers – ICSA
    ICSA says large quantities of lambs from Northern Ireland are adding to slaughter delays for sheep farmers as factories look to hit peak output for Eidal-Adha festival.

    As procurement managers move to secure lamb supplies, ICSA has said farmers around the country are struggling to have their lambs slaughtered as factories are fully booked up.

    It comes as the approaching Eid al-Adha festival sees factories working close to peak capacity to lift output.

    Last week’s kill was recorded at 58,209 head with a day’s less processing reducing throughput by about 5,000 head.

    It is expected that this week’s kill will rival or even surpass last year’s peak weekly throughput of 72,889 head.

    Origin

    While the majority of lambs are trading from €5/kg to €5.10/kg, ICSA sheep chair John Brooks has said the big throughput raised questions about the origin of some of the sheep.

    He stated: “ICSA has been getting reports of extra quantities of lamb coming down from the north of Ireland for slaughter in the south.

    "Sheep from across the border have always been brought down here but the larger numbers are getting out of hand.

    “They are having too much of a knock-on effect with farmers in the south having difficulty getting their own slaughtered.

    "As far as we can see, this is just another ploy to keep prices down at a time when farmers are suffering due to drought costs.”

    Disrespect

    He said the use of these lambs showed a complete lack of respect for both the producer and the consumer due to labelling issues. He added the practise put the idea of traceability, origin green and quality assurance at risk.