Traces Of Vegetables Found In Vegetable Soup
Test samples stored by a company called Veggie Veg Ltd contained 80 percent turnip, 14 percent celeriac, four percent swede and two percent parsnip, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said.
The soup had been on sale at Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Whole Foods and Harrods, but have now been removed.
In a statement, the FSA said of the tests at Veggie Veg: “Of the twelve samples from the suspect consignment that have been tested, every single one came back positive for vegetables, in particular the socially unacceptable root varieties turnip, celeriac and swede.
“The investigation into the traceability of these raw materials and their source is underway, although we suspect they may have come from somewhere subterranean and therefore will be difficult to trace.”
Veggie Veg said it was going to keep the offending cans of vegetable soup in its Suffolk-based store cupboard, adding: “This raw material was grown by a farmer, although we can’t be sure which one.
“The cans that were tested have not entered the food chain because they are yet to be eaten, although we can’t guarantee for how long that situation will continue.
“We remain extremely confident that other vegetable soups we have sold in the past will have been consumed, since they are rather tasty.”
The 80 per cent level of turnip contamination is the highest yet found in the ongoing investigations into the presence of unlabelled vegetable soup in the East Anglian farming trade.
Most regular vegetable soups are comprised largely of carrot, potato or leek. Parsnips are also found in some recipes.
A spokesman for Waitrose said: “We were informed that some of our vegetable soups might be predominantly made up of less mainstream types of vegetables than what our customers would be used to, and we acted immediately to remove them from our shelves.
“We will now be reviewing all of our soups to ensure they contain only socially acceptable foodstuffs in future; such as chicken, bovine or infant sheep carcasses.”
Professor Alan Reilly, whose research at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland first exposed the contamination of vegetable soups in January, said: “We are no longer talking about trace amounts… We are talking about turnip and celeriac soup.
“Somebody, some place, is inserting these root vegetables into the soup manufacturing industry. We don’t know exactly where this is happening.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that turnips, celeriac and swede were all vegetables which grew underground naturally in Britain, although many were aggressively farmed and uprooted before they reached full maturity.
Ireland’s fraud squad has been called in to help with the investigation.