Food firm awaits tests results after horsemeat fears over cottage pies

Pilgrim Foods, Marsh Lane, Boston. They've had to withdraw a product which may contain horse meat.
Pilgrim Foods, Marsh Lane, Boston. They've had to withdraw a product which may contain horse meat.

A Boston-based food supplier has withdrawn a product from circulation, following concerns that it may contain traces of horsemeat.

Pilgrim Foodservice, in Marsh Lane, has recalled 10 cases of cottage pies made by Oak Farm Foods after initial testing of the product showed ‘unclear results’.

The company stressed the decision has been made as a precautionary measure only, as nothing had yet been proven.

Technical manager Claire Baker said: “Pilgrim Foodservice takes its responsibility for food safety very seriously.

“We have received declarations from every supplier that their meat products do not contain any equine-related raw material. In accordance with FSA requirements, each supplier has sent samples of their products for DNA speciation testing.”

A total of 20 single products have been recalled because of the unclear results, and they have since been returned to quarantine. Customers affected by the move are spread across the UK, the company said.

“We are doing all that we can to assure the integrity of all our products,” Ms Baker added.

Oak Farm Foods has sent more than 250 products for sampling in light of the horsemeat scandal, and the 75 which have been returned have shown no ‘equine content’. Results are pending for some products, including the recalled cottage pie.

A spokesman for the company said: “The quality and safety of our products is of the utmost importance to Oak Farm Foods. Following the discovery of equine DNA in one of our products we launched a full internal investigation into the matter. Now that we have received the necessary information we have issued notification to all customers holding any potentially affected product from this product line.”

Paul Dolby, of Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “We are confident that Pilgrim Foods, as a wholesaler, was not in any way responsible for the content of the products.”