Birds Eye identifies horsemeat DNA source

Birds Eye has claimed it has traced the horsemeat contamination in its beef products back to meat supplied by an Irish processor.

The company released a statement today, claiming that the meat in three of its beef ready meals found to contain horse DNA had been supplied by QK Meats in Ireland.

“Our investigation has shown that Frigilunch NV (who supplied these products to us) was itself supplied meat with horse in it by an Irish meat processor QK Meats. Frigilunch NV’s own independent tests and investigation have confirmed our findings. We have reported these findings to the Food Standards Agency and Frigilunch NV has taken immediate action and suspended the firm as a supplier of meat,” it said.

Birds Eye added that all of its other suppliers, and all other suppliers to Frigilunch NV, had been “given the all clear”.

“We are pleased that we have now completed our investigation and have been able to isolate the problem to one source,” it said.

Apologising to consumers for the contamination, the company added that it had now introduced a new “ongoing triple-lock DNA testing programme” to ensure that its beef products do not contain horsemeat.

“We are now demanding, and have agreed with all suppliers, that they DNA-test all products entering their premises. They will then DNA-test products leaving their premises. Birds Eye will then conduct its own DNA tests before products go to shops. We believe this triple-lock DNA testing process is the leading way to do this in our industry,” it explained.

Birds Eye confirmed that its Spaghetti Bolognese 340g and the Beef Lasagne 400g had tested positive for horse DNA last month. A chilli con carne product produced by Frigilunch NV and sold in Belgium also tested positive for horse DNA at 2%. has contacted QK Meats for a comment and is awaiting a response.


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