Food producer Silvercrest, which supplied burgers containing horse meat to Tesco, has had its deal with the supermarket chain terminated after breaking purchasing rules stating it must buy British and Irish beef.
Tesco described Silvercrest’s decision to purchase beef from the Netherlands, Poland and Spain as a “breach of trust.”
Silvercrest instantly blamed European suppliers when tests by Irish food authorities revealed they produced Tesco ‘value’ beefburgers with 29% of the meat content from horses.
“Our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them,” said Tim Smith, technical director at Tesco.
“Nor was the meat from the UK or Ireland, despite our instruction that only beef from the UK and Ireland should be used in our frozen beef burgers. Consequently we have decided not to take products from that supplier in future,” he added.
Tesco was forced to issue a public apology, printed in national newspapers, after tests in Ireland found horse DNA in three Tesco frozen beef burger lines.
The supermarket will now introduce DNA testing across its meat products. ABP Foods, which owns Silvercrest, announced it is introducing DNA testing last week.
ABP Foods has taken responsibility for the Silvercrest business, which will now come under ABP Ireland (the Irish chilled beef division). The sister business in the UK, Dalepak Foods, will come under the immediate control of ABP UK (the UK chilled beef business).
Production at the Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan is still on hold as other supermarkets continue to investigate before purchasing goods from the site.