ANGLO Beef Processors have released a statement from agriculture minister Simon Coveney confirming the scandal surrounding horse meat in supermarket beef burgers resulted from third party contamination.
ABP, which has a slaughtering facility at Hordley, near Ellesmere, was caught up in the scandal earlier this month after DNA tests showed up to 29 per cent of equine DNA in burgers supplied by Silvercrest Foods and Dalepack Hambleton, both owned by ABP, to supermarkets including Tesco, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl.
The Shrewsbury-based meat supplier said the statement confirmed its initial view that the contamination resulted from a continental source and Paul Finnerty, group chief executive of the ABP Food Group said: “We are relieved that the source of the problem has been identified.
“This has been a very difficult experience for all involved and has led to a significant interruption in business for Silvercrest and its customers.
“While the company has never knowingly purchased or traded in equine products, I wish to take this opportunity to apologise for the impact this issue has caused,” he added.
The company was initially alerted to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland findings on January 14.
ABP immediately suspended production at its Silvercrest plant when additional tests indicated other products may also be contaminated.
A further statement released by ABP read: “As previously stated the company has never knowingly bought or processed horse meat and all of our purchases are from approved and licensed EU plants.”
In the wake of the revelations ABP has resolved to appoint a new management team at the Silvercrest facility, independently audit all its third party suppliers, transfer responsibility for Silvercrest to ABP Ireland, bring Dalepack Foods under the control of ABP UK and implement a new DNA testing regime over and above any legal requirements in addition to its current comprehensive testing methods.