More than ten million burgers removed from sale
The firm at the centre of the horse meat scandal – Irish company ABP – has failed to give the UK hotel chain assurances that their stock has not been contaminated.
It comes as burger supplier announced a temporary closure at its Silvercrest processing plant in Co Monaghan after new tests confirmed the contamination was rife.
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- Horse meat could have been used in beefburgers for years and was detected in chorizo a decade ago
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‘As we use two beefburger suppliers we have been able to quickly replace all our Silvercrest stock through our alternative provider.’
ABP said fresh tests from burgers produced in the last two weeks confirmed a European processing company – believed to be in Spain or the Netherlands – as the source of contamination.
The unnamed company supplied a meat bulking protein powder that was used in burgers made for supermarkets in Britain and Ireland.
ABP also used the ingredient in the Yorkshire factory run by its Dalepak subsidiary.
‘However, because equine DNA has been found in finished products tested this week, we have decided that the responsible course of action is to suspend all production at the Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan with immediate effect.
‘This week’s production has not been released from the plant.’
The company also supplies Burger King but last night insisted there was no chance of the fast food chain’s products being contaminated as they are made and stored separately at the plant.
It said: ‘We would like to reiterate that all Burger King products produced by us are stored separately and manufactured on an independent line.
Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney said an investigation will continue to establish conclusively the source of the equine DNA.
In Britain, watchdogs are under pressure to test all supermarket frozen beefburgers for the presence of horse meat amid fears of an official cover-up.
The demand came after it emerged that a raft of big brand burgers and grills sold under the Ross, Dalepak, Flamehouse and Thomas Adams names are being withdrawn.
More than ten million burgers have been removed from sale, including more than 100,000 made at the Yorkshire factory of Dalepak, which supplied Iceland.
However, the official watchdog has made efforts to limit the scope of its investigation.
As a result, families may never know the full extent of the contamination of burgers and other beef ready meals using suspect ingredients.
Tesco and Iceland have been selling burgers in the UK that came from batches found to be contaminated with horse meat in tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Supermarket giant Tesco has placed full-page adverts in a number of national newspapers apologising to customers for selling beefburgers containing horsemeat.
Aldi, Lidl and Iceland have also withdrawn frozen beefburgers from their shelves after they were found to be contaminated with horsemeat.
Although manufacturers Silvercrest and Dalepak also made cheap frozen burgers for other retailers such as Asda, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op, Britain’s FSA said yesterday morning that it had no intention of testing the burgers of these other stores, which were on shelves until they were withdrawn earlier this week.
Even so, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op have withdrawn some frozen products but stressed that the move was ‘purely precautionary’ and they had not been found to be selling contaminated food.
FSA officials said there was no food safety risk and, therefore, no reason to test.
Later, however, it said: ‘If the FSA investigations being undertaken at the moment reveal that we need to look at additional food products then we will not hesitate to take action which may include further testing.’
Environment minister David Heath defended the Government’s handling of the crisis, telling MPs that UK standards are ‘very high’.
- A charity said the destruction of ten million burgers would be ‘pure waste’. Dan Crossley of the Food Ethics Council suggested they could be offered free to consumers willing to eat them if it could be shown they were safe.
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- ‘No evidence’ for Burger King horse meat (standard.co.uk)
- Europe supplied horse meat in burgers (telegraph.co.uk)
- Food factory shut in horsemeat row (standard.co.uk)
- British food watchdog acts over horse meat, firms speak out (horsetalk.co.nz)
- Beef contaminated with horse meat may have been sold in Britain for ‘years’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Customers’ disgust over horse meat in Tesco burgers (standard.co.uk)