UK retailers say latest horsemeat tests negative

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - The latest round of testing by Britain's grocers for horsemeat in beef products has produced no new positive results, industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Friday.

"All the UK's largest supermarkets, and a number of other BRC member food businesses, have now completed 100 percent of their tests on processed minced beef products," it said.

"Today they are reporting the results of 361 more tests on 103 products, received over the last week. They have produced no new positive results."

The horsemeat scandal, which erupted in January when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained equine DNA, has since spread across Europe, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the continent's complex food-processing chains.

Earlier this week Swedish retailer IKEA became the latest firm embroiled in the saga when it stopped nearly all sales of meatballs at its furniture store cafeterias across Europe after tests in the Czech Republic showed some contained horsemeat.

Britain's food regulator, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), is due to update on a wider range of testing later on Friday.

Last week it said it had identified a further 35 positive tests for horsemeat, products that had already been named and withdrawn from sale.

It has asked retailers to test for horse down to a level of 1 percent as some laboratories can only test accurately to that level. It also believes any level above that would not be accidental.