Nestle-owned Jenny Craig assures “no chance of horse meat” in Australia

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th February 2013

Nestle Australia-owned Jenny Craig has assured its Australian consumers that there is no need to worry about horse meat in their ready-made weight loss meals.

Jenny Craig Managing Director Amy Smith told Australian Food News today that there was no horse meat in its products, following news earlier this week that Nestle had found traces of horse meat in some other pasta brands sold in Italy and Spain.

“In Australia and New Zealand, Jenny Craig sources 100 per cent of its red meat from Australia,” Ms Smith told Australian Food News.

Jenny Craig’s announcement has been backed by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) livestock lecturer, Dr Shevahn Telfser. Dr Telfser said that it would be “unlikely” for horse meat to be found in Australian meat products due to strict import regulations.

“As a general rule, horse meat cannot enter our supply chain because Australia imports very little red meat and there are strict measures in place to ensure there is no mixing of processed products,” Dr Telfser said.

Dr Telfser said while Australians were unlikely to be “unknowingly eating horse in their hamburgers”, about 26 000 tonnes of Australian horse meat was exported for human consumption annually – most of it destined for European markets.

The horse meat scandal has made global headlines after tests confirmed that Nestle’s Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini products contained horse DNA. Another Nestle frozen meat product from its Nestle’s catering department in France has also been removed from the market.

A Nestle spokesperson in the UK said that Nestle had voluntarily removed the horse-meat contaminated products because they breached the one per cent threshold for negligence set by the British Food Safety Agency.

Horse meat and the law in Australia

Australian food law expert, FoodLegal’s Joe Lederman told Australian Food News that the wording of the relevant section of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was ambiguous but some States had legislation that could be used to authorise consumption of horse meat by humans.

“For example in Victoria, the Meat Industry Act defines horse as a consumable animal,” Mr Lederman said.

But Mr Lederman said the issue was “controversial” and “the Meat Industry Regulations in Victoria currently ban the sale of horse meat for human consumption within the State.”

Jenny Craig has assured Australians that its meals are not connected with the horse meat scandal.