Horsemeat: Two more multiples drop Silvercrest

Two more supermarkets have dropped beef supplier Silvercrest as tremors from the horsemeat scandal continue to be felt.

Less than 24 hours after Tesco dropped its contract with Silvercrest, The Co-operative Food Group and Asda revealed they had both found horse DNA in their frozen beef burgers, resulting in The Co-op terminating its business with Silvercrest and Asda stating it would no longer take product from the supplier.

The Co-op found 17.7% horse DNA in a frozen own-label burger produced by the ABP Food Group plant after testing. The supermarket chain had removed burgers from sale on 16 January as a precaution, while carrying out tests. Results showed that four in 17 samples contained horse DNA, with one showing 17.7% and the other three showing trace amounts.

A spokesperson from the Co-op said: "We pride ourselves on the quality of the products we sell, and we are taking this matter very seriously. Our decision to withdraw these products at the first opportunity and cease taking further product from this site, has proven to be the correct course of action.

“Whilst there are no safety issues involved, it is now apparent that some of the withdrawn products have not met the high standards we and our customers expect. We apologise for this.

“We specify that all meat in our frozen burgers should be 100% British, but we now strongly believe that some of the meat used to produce these burgers came from outside the UK and was not British in origin, and as a result we have taken the decision to delist Silvercrest as a supplier with immediate effect."

The Co-op added that it was tightening its "already stringent" quality checks to ensure its products meet the high specifications it sets on behalf of its customers.

Asda revealed that it found trace levels of horse DNA in four of its frozen burgers. In a statement an Asda spokesman told “Ensuring that our customers can have complete confidence in the products we sell is our top priority. Though we weren’t implicated in the Irish Food Standards Agency report as soon as we were made aware of this issue we immediately withdrew 29 frozen meat products from sale as a precaution and as you’d expect, had these products tested. These tests have confirmed that none of these 29 products contain horse meat.

“However, four products, which were manufactured at the Silvercrest factory in Ireland have tested positive for very small trace elements of horse DNA, equivalent to a grain of salt in a bag of crisps, most likely as a result of cross contamination in the factory concerned.
“We are continuing to investigate this and are keeping the Food Standards Agency updated on the situation. In the meantime, none of the withdrawn products will be on our shelves and we will not be taking any further supplies from that factory.”


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