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Silvercrest Suspends Operations over Horse Meat Discovery

18 January 2013

IRELAND - The ABP Food Group has suspended all operations at its Silvercrest Country Monaghan meat processing plant - one of the plants at the centre of the discovery of horse and pig meat DNA traces in beef burgers.

A statement from ABP says: "To date, ABP Food Group investigations have centred around two third party EU suppliers.

"Following receipt of this evening’s Irish Department of Agriculture results, we believe that we have established the source of the contaminated material to one of these suppliers. However, because trace DNA has been found in finished products tested this week, we have decided that the responsible course of action is to suspend all production at the Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan with immediate effect.

"This week’s production has not been released from the plant.

"During the suspension of production, all staff will continue to be paid, and we will be working with the relevant authorities, management and supervisory team to complete our investigation.

"We will continue to communicate with our customers and suppliers over the coming days."

The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney this week launched a full investigation into the issue.

The Minister said that the FSAI has made clear that there is no food safety implication to this finding although it does raise concerns about the proper labelling and sourcing of food ingredients.

While the FSAI sampled a range of products, other than this particular sample, only miniscule amounts of porcine and equine DNA were detected.

The Minister confirmed that on receipt of this information from the FSAI, his Department immediately commenced an investigation in the particular plant where the higher findings were detected to determine the source of the equine products.

That investigation is ongoing but is focussing on the individual ingredients used in the manufacture of the affected batch. A number of these individual ingredients were imported into the State.

The Minister stated that to date there was no evidence from the investigation being conducted to show that the manufacturer knowingly brought in equine meat for use in the production of these burgers. However, the investigation will establish the source of the equine DNA.

The Minister said he fully understands the reasons why retailers have removed the affected products from their shelves but nonetheless stated that he fully concurred with the FSAI statement that there was no food safety risk and consumers should not be concerned in that regard.

In reiterating that there is no food safety risk for consumers the Minister said he is determined to establish all the facts in order to ensure that there is no question mark about the quality of beef products from Ireland.

The Minister said that there is no evidence currently available to suggest that this particular finding is anything other than an isolated case and that his officials will establish the position quickly in order to reassure consumers and retailers.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

Further Reading

- See our reader's letter on this story by clicking here.

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