BUTCHERS have spoken out after a number of supermarkets were found to be selling burgers containing horse meat.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that horse meat had been found in burgers on sale at Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores.

In Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers, horse meat accounted for about 29 per cent of the meat and the supermarket has since removed all frozen burgers from sale immediately, regardless of whether they had been found to contain equine DNA.

Asda, the Co-op and Sainsbury's were not among the four retailers found to be selling contaminated food but say they have pulled some ranges as a precaution.

Nationally more than 10m burgers have been removed from shelves.

Butcher Michael Hart, whose shop Michael Hart and Son has been in Cricklade High Street for more than 30 years, said: “I’m surprised that it has happened with these big supermarkets like Tesco – surely these things are checked out. We get Trading Standards Officers in all the time which we are more than happy about, but it amazes me that nobody knows how long this has been going on.

“It makes me wonder what the company are even using the horse meet for – why is it even in their factories? We make our burgers on site and we use 100 per cent minced meat. If anything alien was found in them we would be for the high jump.

“I think it is possible that local butchers may see an increase in demand for burgers – they are popular and this news is very off putting. All you want in your burgers is 100 per cent beef.”

Harold James, of James Butchers in Cricklade High Street, said: “Horse meat isn’t recognised in this country. I know people eat it abroad, and when I was a youngster my father used to say it was like a very lean, sweet sort of meat.

“It’s not against the law to eat it but I think advertising it as something it’s not, is wrong. At this time of year we don’t sell a lot of burgers anyway, but I have sold a few since this happened, so maybe we will see more people buying them from butchers where you know what you are getting in them.”

A spokesman said Swindon Council was being updated by the Food Standards Agency but had not yet been asked to take any action.

He added: “If the FSA asks us to take action then we will do so as we want residents to be confident about the food they eat.”