Traces of meat have allegedly been found in vegetarian and vegan ready meals – sparking an investigation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Laboratory tests reportedly found traces of pork in Sainsbury’s “meat free” meatballs, while traces of turkey were discovered in a Tesco vegan macaroni ready meal, according to The Daily Telegraph.
An FSA spokeswoman said: “Our priority is to ensure consumers can be confident that the food they eat is safe and is what it says it is.
“We are investigating the circumstances surrounding these alleged incidents and any resulting action will depend upon the evidence found.”
The Sainsbury’s product was approved by the Vegetarian Society, which means it has been independently checked.
Image: Sainsbury’s says it is ‘concerned’ by The Daily Telegraph’s findings
Both supermarkets say they carried out their own tests which did not show any traces of meat.
The Daily Telegraph sent samples to a food testing laboratory accredited by the German government.
Traces of pork DNA were allegedly found in Sainsbury’s own-brand Meat Free Meatballs, which sell for £1.50.
The traces of turkey DNA were allegedly detected in Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen BBQ Butternut Mac 385g ready meal, which is labelled as a vegan product and costs £4.
Image: Tesco says its initial tests have found no traces of animal DNA
The laboratory told the newspaper that the presence of whole animal DNA indicates that a dish contains meat or animal skin.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “These 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.
“We are concerned by these findings however and are carrying out a comprehensive investigation alongside our supplier.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We take the quality and integrity of our products extremely seriously and understand that our vegan and vegetarian products should be exactly that.
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“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.”