Horsemeat: Burger King accuses Silvercrest of using Polish meat in its burgers

Burger King has “terminated” its relationship with  ABP-subsidiary Silvercrest, accusing the processor of violating its supply specifications.

The restaurant chain announced yesterday (31 January) that it had launched its own investigation despite assurances from ABP that its products were not implicated in the horsemeat contamination scandal that has seen Silvercrest dropped as a supplier by a number of major supermarkets in recent days.

It said that while tests on burgers in its restaurants had found no trace of horsemeat, tests on products at the Silvercrest plant had shown “small traces” of horse DNA. It was quick to reassure that none of these products had actually been sold into its restaurants.

The company said that it also had evidence that Silvercrest had “used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland” in the production of Burger King burgers.

“They promised to deliver 100% British & Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them. Through our investigation, we have confirmed that this non-approved Polish supplier is the same company identified by the Irish Department of Agriculture as the source of Silvercrest’s contamination issue,” said the statement.

Burger King said that it was currently using processors in Germany and Italy to supply its restaurants in the UK and Ireland, but remained “committed” to identifying suppliers that could provide 100% British and Irish beef.

Diego Beamonte, vice president, Global Quality, Burger King Corporation said: “While the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has stated that this is not a food safety issue, we are deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation and apologise to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100% beef burgers. Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again.”

“We will dedicate ourselves to determining what lessons can be learned and what additional measures, including DNA testing and enhanced traceability controls, can be taken to ensure that we continue to provide you with the quality products you expect from us.”

Burger King announced on 23 January that it would be replacing all product from Silvercrest with product from alternative suppliers as a  “voluntary and precautionary”  measure after horse DNA was found in burgers supplied by the processor to supermarkets in the UK and Ireland.

ABP said earlier this week that it had implemented a total management change at Silvercrest, which remains closed. The company initially claimed that products supplied to Burger King were stored separately and manufactured on an independent line, and that there was “no evidence of contamination of Burger King products”.


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