Horsemeat: Tesco drops Silvercrest as supplier

Tesco has announced that it has dropped ABP subsidiary Silvercrest as a supplier and is introducing DNA testing across its meat products.

In a statement issued today, Tesco group technical director Tim Smith said the supermarket had evidence that Silvercrest had supplied it with frozen burgers containing meat that “did not come from a 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,” he added. “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.”

Smith said that despite already having “world-class” checks and technical experts in place to guarantee the quality of its meat products, it would “not take anything for granted after this incident”.

“It has shown that, in spite of our stringent tests, checks and controls there remained a small possibility that something could go wrong and it did. We want to stop it ever happening again, so we are taking action to reduce that possibility still further,” he said.

“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.”

Tesco was forced to issue a public apology earlier this month after tests by the Food Standards Authority Ireland (FSAI) revealed that one of its Tesco Everyday Value burgers, supplied by Silvercrest, contained 29% horsemeat relative to beef content.

Ireland’s agriculture ministry announced on the weekend that it had traced the source of horse DNA in burgers manufactured at Silvercrest back to raw ingredients from an as yet unnamed Polish supplier.

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