Beefburger supplier Silvercrest loses Tesco business over horse DNA contaminationFebruary 2013
Leading UK supermarket chain Tesco has dropped a supplier of frozen beefburgers after tests showed last month that the product contained horse DNA.
Tesco has, ‘with regret’, dropped Irish company Silvercrest after its own investigation showed meat had been used from a Polish company. Tesco had specified Silvercrest use an approved list of UK and Irish suppliers only.
And, as a result of the controversy, Tesco is to introduce a comprehensive system of DNA testing for all its meat products.
The story broke on 15 January after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland revealed the results of tests on beefburgers sold by Tesco.
Silvercrest recommended to its customers that they withdraw relevant products, and parent company ABP Food Group launched an investigation into the source of the horse DNA.
ABP CEO Paul Finnerty said: “This has been a very difficult experience for all involved and has led to a significant interruption in business for Silvercrest and its customers.
“The company has never knowingly bought or processed horsemeat and all of our purchases are from approved and licensed EU plants.”
Production at Silvercrest was suspended and a new management team has been installed. The company is also to introduce audits for all third party suppliers, as well as a new DNA testing regime.
While the FSAI said beefburgers sold at other stores, including Lidl, Aldi and Iceland, also contained horse DNA, it was Tesco that attracted the majority of public comment, particularly on social networking sites.
In a statement, Tesco group technical director Tim Smith said that simply dropping Silvercrest as a supplier was not enough: “We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great.
“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.”
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