“It’s never been suggested that we’ve cancelled Silvercrest’s contract,” said a spokesperson for Tesco.
Irish manufacturer Silvercrest, a subsidiary of ABP Foods, made the Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers containing 29% horse meat.
The eight packs of burgers are sold for £1.00 in Tesco and claim to contain 63% beef. However, batches tested by Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that 29% of the beef ingredient was horse meat.
“We have withdrawn all products from sale that Silvercrest supply to us, and we are not currently taking any product from them whilst we investigate this,” a spokesperson for Tesco told The Manufacturer.
The plant in Monaghan only seriously affected Tesco’s ‘value’ burgers, but traces of horse DNA were found in three other products made at the site, Tesco Beef Quarter Pounders, St Bernard Beef Burgers sold by Dunnes Stores in Ireland and Oakhurst Beef Burgers sold by Aldi.
“There is no clear explanation for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process,” said Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive at Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Tesco is offering a “full refund” on the £1.00 item and added that any additional claims will be considered on a case by case basis. Eating horse meat is against Jewish dietary laws and goes against Islamic religion.
“Whether we continue to work with Silvercrest going forward will depend on the outcome of the investigation,” said a spokesperson for Tesco.
Silvercrest has launched its own investigation into two European suppliers it suspects as the source of the meat.