Cross-posted from Yahoo! UK News
REPORTED BY THE PRESS ASSOCIATION
A food company at the centre of a scandal over horse meat in beef burgers has vowed to adopt strict DNA testing of its products to prevent a repeat.
The ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s biggest suppliers and processors, is being investigated by health and agriculture authorities in the UK and Ireland over the controversy.
Two of its subsidiaries, Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire, supplied beef burgers with traces of equine DNA to supermarkets, including one product classed as 29% horse.
An ABP spokesman said.”It is vital that the integrity of the supply chain is assured and we are committed to restoring consumer confidence.”
A third company, Liffey meats, based in Co Cavan, Ireland, was also found to be supplying products to supermarkets with traces of horse DNA.
Suppliers in the Netherlands and Spain have been identified as the possible sources for incorrectly labelled ingredients after the scandal was uncovered through DNA testing of samples by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).
The results, verified in laboratories in Germany, showed low levels of horse in beef products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores in Ireland. Some burgers were also being sold in the UK but retailers insisted all suspect brands had been taken off the shelves within hours of the findings being released on Tuesday evening.
Prime Minister David Cameron said supermarkets had to take responsibility for what he said was an extremely disturbing case. He added: “This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs. It is worth making the point that, ultimately, retailers have to be responsible for what they sell and where it has come from.”
The FSAI analysed 27 beefburger products with best before dates from last June to March 2014 with 10 of the 27 products – 37% – testing positive for horse DNA and 85% testing positive for pig DNA.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Minister, said the issue should not be seen in the same light as BSE or a dioxin scare in Irish pork meat from four years ago. He added: “There’s no health issue here. But I’m not comfortable eating horse meat like lots of others. But that’s not the issue. The issue is if someone has consumed a burger and something was in that burger that they did not know about. There’s no health risk with that.”