Nestle Pulls Beef Pasta Meals Following Horsemeat Discovery - Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons Flickr via Creative Commons

Nestle, the world's largest food firm, is the latest retailer to be hit by the ongoing horsemeat scandal after traces of horse DNA were found in its beef pasta meals in Italy and Spain.

The Swiss food giant has withdrawn Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini following the discovery of more than one percent of Horse DNA present in each product.

"The levels found are above the one percent threshold the UK's Food Safety Agency uses to indicate likely adulteration or gross negligence. We have informed the authorities accordingly. There is no food safety issue," Nestle said in a statement.

The firm had said last week that Nestle's products were not affected. The recent discovery of contamination in products belonging to the world's largest food company is likely to have wider ramifications than was previously thought.

Nestle's spokesperson added that Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen product for catering businesses, has also been withdrawn in France.

The products have been supplied by the German firm H J Schypke, a sub-contractor of the Belgium-based company JBS Toledo, said Nestle. All the products supplied by the German supplier have been suspended due to the present situation.

"We want to apologise to consumers and reassure them that the actions being taken to deal with this issue will result in higher standards and enhanced traceability," said Nestle.

The firm has also pledged that they would be "enhancing existing comprehensive quality assurance programme by adding new tests on beef for horse DNA prior to production in Europe".

Although the government officials stressed there is no or little health risk in horsemeat, consumers have been shocked over recent revelations of the irregularities in the food industry.

The scandal surfaced last month after the authorities first found horsemeat in Irish beefburgers. The crisis snowballed when French company Comigel alerted Findus over the presence of horsemeat.

The mislabelled horsemeat has so far affected a dozen European countries.