The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said its members are “taking the initiative” in testing for horsemeat in beef products.
Director General Helen Dickinson said retailers are devoting “substantial resources to action” in areas set out by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.
“They are leading from the front on product testing to a tight timetable and being transparent with customers, the Food Standards Agency and Government,” she said.
“Retailers’ risk-based testing programme is well advanced. Testing is being led by intelligence and targeted on the products that may have been associated with these incidents.
“We are actively communicating what we’re doing and have already said we will make the results we have available, to the FSA and publicly, during this Friday. We have also confirmed we will be reporting regularly on future testing.”
MPs will debate the horsemeat scandal in the Commons today. Labour has tabled a motion calling on the Government to “ensure that police and fraud specialists investigate the criminal networks involved in horsemeat adulteration”.
Mr Paterson will meet industry representatives later to discuss the horsemeat scandal amid fears that some Northern Irish horses could have ended up as food.
Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh has voiced concerns about 70,000 horses in Northern Ireland which are “unaccounted for”.
Elsewhere, the chief executive of the FSA, Catherine Brown, has told the Daily Telegraph pork and chicken products will also need to be tested for contamination.
The BRC said emerging risks in other European states need to be better communicated between the FSA and food sector.
“Retailers have been decisive in the action they’ve taken since they first became aware of this issue,” Ms Dickinson said.
“We will continue to work closely with the FSA on any future incidents.”