The Food Standards Agency has begun an investigation following claims that traces of meat were found in food classified as vegan or vegetarian.

The Daily Telegraph tested ten vegan and vegetarian products at Tesco and Sainsbury’s and found meat in two.

According to the newspaper’s investigation, a German government-accredited food testing laboratory found traces of pork in Sainsbury’s branded Meat Free Meatballs, and traces of turkey in Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen BBQ butternut macaroni cheese meal.

A statement from FSA said: ‘The Daily Telegraph has shared information with us regarding the products they have tested. We are examining this information in relation to the allegations made… and will take appropriate action as necessary.’

A Tesco spokesperson said:
“We take the quality and integrity of our products extremely seriously and understand that our vegan and vegetarian products should be exactly that.

“Our initial DNA tests have found no traces of animal DNA in the BBQ Butternut Mac product available in stores today.”

Sainsbury’s said the meatball product, which carries the widely-respected Vegetarian Society logo, is produced at a meat-free factory. A statement stressed that Sainsbury’s and the Vegetarian Society carried out regular checks and no issues had been found. “We are concerned by these findings however, and are carrying out a comprehensive investigation alongside our supplier.”

Supermarkets continue to expand their range of meat-free products as the trend towards vegetarian food continues to increase. Veganism is believed to have grown four-fold over the past decade, according to the Vegan Society.

In addition, there are many who do not eat meat for religious or ethical reasons. The Muslim Council of Britain called the findings “distressing”.