AUSTRALIA'S biggest supermarket chain will DNA test its home-brand meals in the wake of Europe's horse meat scandal.
Woolworths will test the imported New Zealand meat used in some of its private-label frozen meals, the Herald Sun reports.
"While we have a robust traceability process in place, we will be testing Woolworths-branded ready meals and other meat lines for customers' peace of mind,'' spokesman Benedict Brook told News Limited last night.
"We expect them to all come back correct."
Rival Coles said it had strong quality control - but would contact its suppliers just to "make sure".
"We're comfortable we have no exposure to the substitution cases found in Europe and the UK,'' spokesman Jim Cooper said.
"However, we have taken the additional precaution of contacting our suppliers to make sure.''
ALDI said the lasagna sold in its Australian stores contains only Australian beef, and is different to the lasagna sold in the UK.
"ALDI Australia is not planning to test any products given that the issue is contained in the UK and not at all relevant to the Australian market,'' a spokeswoman said.
Australia's food, consumer and quarantine watchdogs are not testing food imports to check for traces of horse meat, despite the growing scandal over meat substitution in Europe.
Regulatory authorities in France, Britain and Ireland have used DNA tests to detect horse meat in processed foods including lasagna and beef burgers.
But Food Standards Australia yesterday said the testing of imported meat products was a matter for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which controls quarantine.
"(Food Standards) is working with international counterparts and the states and territories, however, we don't believe it is a concern here,'' public affairs officer Saffron Urbaniak said.
"The production and processing of meat in Australia is tightly regulated.
"There are also only two abattoirs processing horse meat in Australia and these abattoirs don't process beef or meat from other major meat species.''
A DAFF spokesman said Australia did not import any lasagna from Europe, or beef patties from the UK or Ireland.
He said processed meat products could only be imported from pre-approved countries that carry out DNA testing of meat before export.
"It's done at the country of origin, certified by their governments,'' he said.
"The DNA and species testing conducted is to a standard we are happy with.''
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims yesterday ruled out pre-emptive DNA tests to check that food products comply with truth-in-labelling laws.
"The way we see it, in parts of Europe horse meat is a legitimate form of food, therefore it is a little easier to see how that might get into the food chain over there,'' he said.
"If anyone were to do that here, they'd have a lot of trouble covering it up and we'd get complaints.''
The NSW Food Authority yesterday said its random "species testing'' of fresh meat sold at butchers had never detected horse meat.
Victoria's abbattoir inspectorate, Prime Safe, said horse meat was banned for human consumption in Victoria and pet meat had to be stained bright blue.
Read more at heraldsun.com.au