Burger King, one of the most popular fast-food chains in Britain and Ireland, said Jan. 24 it had stopped using one of the firms caught up in the scandal of supplying grocers with beef that contained horsemeat.
The British food industry has been rocked by the revelation last week that retailers including market leader Tesco and smaller chains Aldi, Lidl and Iceland had sold beef products that contained horsemeat.
Food safety experts say horsemeat poses no added health risks to consumers, but the discovery has raised concerns about traceability in the food supply chain.
On its website, Burger King said it had decided to replace all Silvercrest products in Britain and Ireland with products from another approved supplier.
“This is a voluntary and precautionary measure,” Burger King said. “We are working diligently to identify suppliers that can produce 100 per cent pure Irish and British beef products that meet our high-quality standards.”
The beef burger products found to have tested positive for horse DNA, were produced in processing plants by Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in Britain.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at the weekend he was “not satisfied” that the government had got to the bottom of how nine out of 13 burgers from the plant tested positive for traces of horsemeat in a set of DNA tests.
Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, last week withdrew from sale all products from its supplier, Silvercrest, which is owned by Ireland-based ABP Food Group.
ABP Foods said the source of the contamination was a beef-based product bought from two third-party suppliers outside of Ireland.
A Tesco Everyday Value burger made at the Silvercrest plant was found to contain 29 per cent horsemeat when tested.