Irish & UK food producers made Tesco burgers with 29% horse meat

Posted on 16 Jan 2013

Three food companies in Ireland and Yorkshire supplied some of Britain's biggest supermarkets with beefburgers that contained 29% horse meat.

Irish manufacturer Silvercrest Foods, a subsidiary of ABP Foods, has blamed European suppliers after pork and horse meat was found in frozen beefburgers sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland.

Horse DNA was found in burgers made at Silvercrest’s facility in Monaghan, Liffey Meats in Cavan and Dalepak Foods in Yorkshire.

Silvercrest released a statement saying it had never purchased or traded horse meat and “has launched a full-scale investigation into two continental European third party suppliers who are the suspected source of the product in question.”

Beefburgers have been taken off the shelves at supermarkets across the UK and Ireland after tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that the frozen beef burgers contained horse and pig DNA.

Of the 27 beef burger products analysed by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, 10 products were found to contain horse DNA.

Traces of horse DNA were also detected in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from The Netherlands and Spain.

The amount of horse meat marked as beef in Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers was 29%.

Silvercrest Foods is withdrawing all products from sale and replacing them with new products.

The industry does not routinely DNA test meat products for species but ABP Foods will now introduce a new testing regime for all meat products, including DNA testing.

“These results relate only to where beef based products have been sourced by suppliers from the Continent,” the company said in a statement.

Only a small percentage of meat is currently procured from outside of the UK & Ireland with the company saying it is “at a loss to explain why one test showed 29% equine DNA.”

ABP Foods dispatched auditors to two European sites to conduct unannounced spot checks. We are conducting our own DNA tests on a wide number of samples and expect the results in the coming days.

Photo courtesy of Clive Darra