Horsemeat: Castell Howell withdraw cottage pies

Image caption,
Food manufacturers have been contacting suppliers to check the possibility of contamination

A Carmarthenshire food wholesaler has withdrawn one of its products following concerns about possible horsemeat contamination.

Castell Howell Foods, in Cross Hands, said it had contacted the five customers who received deliveries of a range of cottage pies.

The company said it was told last Friday by frozen ready meals supplier Oak Farm that there was the possibility of horsemeat contamination.

Oak Farm has launched an investigation.

Supplies of the frozen cottage pie product have been suspended and a recall has been carried out.

Nigel Williams, financial director at Castell Howell, said the company has collected the cottage pies from customers affected.

'New regime'

He said Castell Howell has around forty suppliers of frozen ready meal products containing beef.

They contacted all their suppliers once the horsemeat scandal broke.

Oak Farm is the only one to come back with possible concerns, although Mr Williams said they have yet to hear from all their suppliers.

Mr Williams said Oak Farm is a substantial company with whom they have dealt for a number of years without any reasons for concern.

Castell Howell still uses a large quantity of fresh Welsh beef every week, he stressed.

Oak Farm Foods told ITV Wales it had launched a 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," the firm said.

"While the company carries out extensive testing on all its products DNA testing has not been widely available or the norm in the industry.

"However, given recent issues Oak Farm Foods has instigated a new regime that includes DNA tests.

"We can confirm that all tests for equine DNA on products to date have tested negative."

On Tuesday Alun Davies, the deputy minister for agriculture, told assembly members he had confidence in the food chain in Wales and there was no evidence of a risk to human health.

Retailers should "take a more proactive role" to reassure customers that food is safe in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, he said.

He said food was being tested across the whole supply chain.

It included products for supermarkets and those being supplied by caterers for schools, hospitals and prisons.

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