According to the Republic of Ireland's food safety authority (FSAI), in a startling discovery, some beef burgers sold in Irish and UK supermarkets, have been found to contain horse DNA.
In UK and Ireland, the burgers were found in the Tesco and Iceland supermarkets, whereas in the Republic of Ireland, they were on sale in Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi supermarkets, reports the BBC News.
A number of products also contain a major amount of pig DNA, the FSAI adds.
Reassuring people that the meat poses no health risks, FSAI said the meat came from two processing plants in Ireland, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in Yorkshire.
Although there are no health risks, the discovery did raise some concerns, as it is not in Irish culture to eat horse meat, according to FSAI chief executive Professor Alan Reilly.
Following the discovery, Tesco, Iceland and Aldi released statements that they have withdrawn the affected products from their stores, and are working closely with the concerned authorities to find out about this discovery and ensure that it does not happen again.
According to Irish Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, while there is a reasonable explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, horse DNA should not have been present in those plants.
Meanwhile, Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak both said they had never bought or traded in horse product and have launched an investigation into two continental European third party suppliers.
A total of 27 products were analysed, with 10 having horse DNA and 23 with pig DNA. Horsemeat accounted for approximately 29% of the meat content in one sample from Tesco. In addition, 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, were analysed, of which 21 tested positive for pig DNA.