Silvercrest burger plant shuts after horse meat contamination

Posted on 18 Jan 2013

Silvercrest plant has halted production at its plant in County Monaghan after it supplied Tesco with burgers containing 29% horse meat.

Silvercrest Foods, a subsidiary of ABP Food Group, continued production this week despite Tesco and other supermarkets refusing to take its goods while investigations were being carried out as to how horse meat ended up in beef burgers. However, burgers made this week have not been released from the plant.

Tesco released a public apology saying “We have immediately withdrawn from sale all products from the supplier in question, from all our stores and online.”

Silvercrest Foods released a statement saying that “because equine DNA has been found in certain finished products tested this week, we have decided that the responsible course of action is to temporarily suspend all production at the Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan with immediate effect.”

The facility will be closed for several days to complete a sanitation process and complete its own internal investigations.

The company claimed that all Burger King products it produced are stored separately and manufactured on an independent line. “There is no evidence of any contamination of raw material used for the manufacture of any Burger King products,” it said in a statement.

The food safety authority in Ireland found that 10 out of the 27 beef burger products it analysed contained horse DNA.

The meat came from Silvercrest Foods and Liffey Meats in Ireland, and the Yorkshire food producer Dalepak Hambleton.

However, it was only Silvercrest factory in County Monaghan that supplied Tesco, which was found to be selling ‘value’ beef burgers containing 29% horse meat, the largest amount of any burger.

The news has created a serious dent in the company’s reputation, with three trends on Twitter relating to the incident on Wednesday 16 January.

Silvercrest Foods has blamed European suppliers and believes it has now established the source of the contaminated meat to one of these suppliers.