'Buy meat locally so you know where it's coming from': Environment committee chair admits she wouldn't eat a beef processed meal

The chair of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee today admitted that she would not eat processed foods labelled as beef.

Anne McIntosh spoke out on the horsemeat scandal by warning that recent cases of contaminated products were just the 'tip of the iceberg'.

And this morning she urged consumers to buy local produce to give themselves peace of mind of the source of their meat goods.

Miss McIntosh had previously said  that Britain's Food Standards Agency had failed to get to grips with the horsemeat affair.

When asked if she would eat a beef processed meal, she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "No, and I think the message is to go out and buy your food as locally as you can so you know where the beef is coming from."

"There's a common strand going through this of imported meat coming from EU countries. None of the meat seems to have come from this country.

"It's sending shockwaves through the farming community and denting consumer confidence. We need to tackle this very quickly to restore consumer confidence, and I think the message is to buy local.'

Miss McIntosh critcised the FSA earlier this week, saying: "We have had two incidents in two weeks, neither of which was discovered by the Food Standards Agency.

The agency must face questions over whether it is fit for purpose."

It emerged today that Findus beef lasagne may have been contaminated with horsemeat since last summer.

Labour MP Tom Watson said he had obtained a letter from the company to retailers warning that a French-based supplier told it on February 2 that raw materials delivered to it since August 1 last year were "likely to be non-conform and consequently the labelling on finished products is incorrect".

The letter, which Mr Watson said was sent to retailers on Monday, added: "The supplier has asked us to withdraw the raw material batches."

Tesco confirmed today that it was informed of a product withdrawal by Findus on Monday but did not give any more details.

Findus have since issued a statement on the scandal, insisting that the contamination is 'not a food safety issue'.

Findus said: ‘Findus UK can confirm testing of its beef lasagne has revealed some product containing horse meat.

'As a precautionary measure, on Monday we coordinated a full withdrawal of our affected beef lasagne.

‘We understand it is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately.

'We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.’