ROME: Italy's health ministry on Saturday said tests carried out on Nestle beef products seized this week had shown they did not contain horsemeat.
"There was no trace of equine DNA in the cooked and frozen minced beef that was seized from Nestle on Feb.21," the ministry said in a statement.
"The meat will therefore be returned," it added.
Nestle, the world's biggest food company, on Monday said it was withdrawing two types of pasta meal from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain due to contamination that did not constitute a health risk.
Italian police on Thursday seized 26 tonnes of beef from Nestle.
In a separate development on Saturday France's president said that he wanted to see proper labelling of meat in ready-made meals to avert a repeat of the scandal over horsemeat being passed off as beef.
"I want there to eventually be mandatory labels on the meat contained in prepared meals," Francois Hollande said while visiting an agricultural show in Paris.
"Until then, I will support... all initiatives for voluntary labelling" so that "consumers know the origin of the products they are consuming, especially meat."
A vast food scandal erupted in Europe in January after horsemeat was initially found in so-called beef ready-made meals and burgers in Britain and Ireland.
It has since spread as far as Hong Kong.
French firm Spanghero has been at the heart of the scandal after it allegedly passed off 750 tonnes of horsemeat as beef, with the product eventually finding its way into 4.5 million "beef" products sold across Europe.