Horsemeat found in canned beef at two UK retailers: Food agency

LONDON (REUTERS) - A batch of canned sliced beef containing horsemeat has been removed from the shelves of retailers Home Bargains and Quality Save, Britain's Food Standards Agency said on Thursday .

Routine tests by local government trading standards officers in Lincolnshire, eastern England, found the product, which was manufactured in Romania in January this year, contained horse DNA at a level of between 1 per cent and 5 per cent.

"Horse meat is not identified in the ingredients list and therefore it should not have been present in the product," the agency said in a statement.

Neither Home Bargains, the trading name of family-owned business TJ Morris, nor Quality Save, a chain of discount stores operating in northern England, could immediately be reached for comment.

The beef tested negative for the drug phenylbutazone, or 'bute', the anti-inflammatory painkiller for sporting horses which is banned for animals intended for eventual human consumption as it is potentially harmful, the agency said.

A scandal broke around Europe in January when traces of horse were found in frozen burgers sold in Irish and British supermarkets, including those run by market leader Tesco .