Meat made up entirely of horse but labelled ‘diced beef’ has been sold on a market stall in Preston.
Bosses at Hungarian Food Ltd, which has a stall on Preston Market, said they had ‘no idea’ some of their meat contained horse.
It was uncovered during tests by Lancashire County Council’s Scientific Services laboratory on 1kg bags sold by the company.
The laboratory, based at Preston Docks, has been assisting the Food Standards Agency in its investigations into the horse meat scandal.
Sandra Valabekova, assistant manager on the market stall, which was trading yesterday, said affected stock had been removed from their shelves.
She: “I found out this week it has been found in our beef so we removed it from the shelves and are not selling it anymore.”
Ildiko Mokran, company secretary, said they imported the meat from a supplier in Hungary and were told they were buying diced beef.
She said: “The Trading Standards came on Thursday as a result of the tests.
“It was a very big surprise. We got the meat in April 2012 from our suppliers in Hungary. It was frozen food.
“It wasn’t a big amount. The Food Standards Agency will check with where it has come from. On the packaging it says diced beef. That is what we ordered. We had no idea it was horse.”
An investigation found that 40kg has been sold through the company’s market stall, as well as through a shop in Liverpool called Taste of Hungary.
The Hungarian authorities and the European Commission have been notified.
Paul Noone, assistant director for Lancashire Trading Standards, said: “The company cooperated fully to provide the details to help us trace the origin of the meat and have removed the product from stock.
“Of the 100kg imported, 70kg was still in stock and we’re now working with the FSA to trace back through the supply chain.
Adrian Livesey, who has been a butcher on Preston Market for 11 years, said he hoped the news would not mean people lost faith in the market.
He said: “Not one butcher has been implicated in this and that is an important thing to remember.
“This scandal has been a breath of fresh air for us, with people coming in saying they trust us. We just want people to know that they certainly can.”