Tesco slags Irish meat processor over foreign horse meat
Tesco has stuck the boot in with Silvercrest, severing all ties and saying that the meat processor broke an agreement that only meat from the UK or Ireland should be used in its frozen beefburgers.
An investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture in Ireland found that the source of the horse meat was a supplier in Poland, which Tesco point out was not on a list of "approved suppliers" agreed with Silvercrest.
Tim Smith, Tesco's group technical director, said: "We now understand - with as much certainty as possible – what happened. The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them. 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. We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great. To underpin the strong measures already in place, we will now introduce a comprehensive system of DNA testing across our meat products. This will identify any deviation from our high standards."
"These checks will set a new standard. It will be a significant investment for Tesco, borne by Tesco. We want to leave customers in no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to ensure the quality of their food and that the food they buy is exactly what the label says it is."
Tests showed that beefburgers at the Silvercrest plant showed “significant levels” of equine DNA in imported “raw material,” which amounted to 20% horse DNA content relative to beef. “This confirms previous results that the raw material from Poland is the source of equine DNA content in certain beef burgers,” the Irish agriculture department said in a statement at the weekend.