Last week, Nestlé announced a major recall of more than 500,000 Lean Cuisine microwaveable meals because of consumer reports of glass fragments and pieces found in some Culinary Collection Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli dishes. Only a week earlier, Burger King made international headlines after it was discovered that horse meat had been discovered in the so-called beef patties that the fast food giant had been selling in various franchise stores in Britain and Ireland. This week, those two unrelated stories have intersected, as Nestlé has announced another recall, this time due to reports that frozen and chilled meals containing beef may also contain horse meat.
Nestlé has announced the immediate recall of at least two products from supermarkets and grocery stores in Spain and Italy, with the Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini pasta dishes being identified as contaminated with horse meat, according to a statement from Nestlé (via CNN).
"Our tests have found traces of horse DNA in two products made from beef supplied by H.J. Schypke," the statement said. "The levels found are above the one percent threshold the UK’s Food Safety Agency uses to indicate likely adulteration or gross negligence."
Additionally, the company is recalling Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes frozen dishes from supermarkets and stores in France. However, much like the Burger King horse meat incident, Nestlé is assuring consumers that meals in the American market are not affected by the presence of horse meat, according to the New York Times.
“Nestlé U.S.A. does not use meat sourced from Europe,” a company statement said. “Additionally, U.S.D.A. meat inspectors are in all processing plants and also have responsibility to oversee any imported meat. We have also requested and received confirmation from all our meat suppliers that they do not provide Nestlé U.S.A. with any meat from the affected countries and companies.”
While the recall doesn’t immediately affect U.S. consumers, it still raises awareness of the dangers of mislabeling and a company’s failure to investigate its product thoroughly and, therefore, meet consumer standards and expectations. Additionally, European consumers who have already eaten these products now have to be concerned with the presence of phenylbutazone, a very powerful painkiller administered to horses, as the N.Y. Times also revealed that at least 6 horses that were used for food in France had tested positive for the drug.
The U.S.D.A. has confirmed that the chances of American consumers unknowingly ingesting horse meat in these or similar meals are slim to none; however, they’re at least now aware and equally concerned of the possibility of contamination.