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U.K. food regulator finds another 35 positive horsemeat tests

An employee of the microbiological laboratory of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety prepares a sample of minced meat for testing in Vienna Feb. 22, 2013.

LEONHARD FOEGER/REUTERS

Britain's food regulator said it had found another 35 positive tests for horsemeat in beef products, confirming the latest contaminations in a scandal still spreading across Europe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said on Friday it had conducted 3,634 tests, 3,599 of which had come back negative for horsemeat levels above 1 per cent, with 35 results testing positive for horsemeat at or above 1 per cent.

It said these products had already been named and withdrawn from sale and added that no tests to date on samples containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).

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The scandal, which erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained horsemeat, has since spread across Europe, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the continent's complex food-processing chains.

The U.K.'s FSA said last week that it had found 29 samples of horsemeat in the food chain in tests carried out on samples demanded from UK retailers, and has since announced plans for a wider testing of meat products.

The regulator has asked the industry to test for horse down to a level of 1 per cent as some laboratories can only test accurately to that level. It also believes any level above that would not be accidental.

It will give a further update on test results next Friday.

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