By Tiffany Hsu
8:08 AM PST, March 1, 2013
Taco Bell says it has discovered horse meat in some of its British products, joining a growing list of burgers, lasagnas and pizzas affected by a food labeling scandal rapidly unfurling across Europe.
Taco Bell said in a statement that it was “very disappointed to learn that some batches of ground beef” from a European supplier “tested positive for horsemeat.” The chain has three restaurants in the region.
"We immediately withdrew ground beef from sale in our restaurants, discontinued purchase of that meat, and contacted the Food Standards Agency with this information," the company said.
The FSA is a British regulatory unit. On Friday, it said that of 1,797 tests conducted over the past seven days, more than 99% came back negative for noticeable horse meat levels.
But four more products were confirmed to have evidence of equine DNA and were pulled from shelves, according to regulators.
Tainted meat has already been discovered in European products sold by Ikea, Burger King, Tesco, Nestle and more. So far, the presence of horse meat in items sold as beef seems to be limited to Europe.
“Our domestic restaurants have not been, and will not be, impacted because we do not use any meat from Europe,” Taco Bell said in a stateside statement. “We stand for quality and we use 100% premium beef. Like all beef in the United States, ours is USDA inspected and then passes our own 20 quality checkpoints.”
Taco Bell parent company Yum Brands Inc. has spent the week dealing with food safety concerns. On Monday, it dropped some smaller poultry suppliers in China, where outrage over KFC chicken pumped with antibiotics caused its winter sales to plummet.
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