The tests form part of the follow-up to last year’s horsemeat scandal, where a number of beef products across Europe were found to have been deliberately adulterated with horsemeat.
Testing will be carried out on raw beef products, including mince, burgers and sausages, as well as cooked ready meals, with samples to be taken from retail outlets, wholesale catering suppliers and cold stores.
The first round of testing was carried out in 2013, and found that approximately 4-6% of products sampled contained undeclared horsemeat.
All member states have been asked to submit test results, and it will be up to each EU member state to set up their own timetable, however all samples are required by July 2014. Any samples testing positive for horsemeat contamination, above the 1% reporting level set for the EU-wide study, will be revealed following laboratory confirmation.
The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that, since last year, local authorities in the UK had been testing beef products for horsemeat as part of their routine sampling programmes. Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said: "This new round of EU testing should give additional reassurance to consumers across Europe that the food chain is being checked for potential problems."
GlobalMeatNews reported in February that the Commission was to coordinate a second set of DNA tests this spring.