The problem is bigger than originally thought. How did horse meat end up in the burgers and where did it come from? ~Declan
Burger factory at a standstill after MORE horse meat is found as Premier Inn becomes latest big firm to ditch beef over contamination fears
- Irish company ABP has temporarily closed its Silvercrest operation
- More than ten million burgers removed from sale - including 100,000 made at Yorkshire factory Dalepak
- UK's largest budget hotel chain has removed burgers from its restaurants
- Government has put Food Standards Agency in charge of handling response
- But the watchdog has limited the scope of its investigation
- Families may never know the full extent of contamination of burgers
- Concern other stores may be just as guilty as Tesco and Iceland who were caught because of vigilance of FSA in Ireland
Premier Inn has become the latest company to remove thousands of beef burgers from its restaurants over fears they may be contaminated with horse meat as its supplier suspends operations.
The firm at the centre of the horse meat scandal - Irish company ABP - has failed to give the UK hotel chain assurances that their stock has not been contaminated.
It comes as burger supplier announced a temporary closure at its Silvercrest processing plant in Co Monaghan after new tests confirmed the contamination was rife.
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Food chain? A customer rode this horse to a Tesco store in Dublin last year, did a shop, then took the - possibly relieved - animal home
A Premier Inn spokesman said: 'We take the quality of our food very seriously. We asked our supplier, Silvercrest, to give us assurances that the beefburger product supplied to us was not affected by this issue.
'After they initially gave us this assurance they have subsequently told us they cannot now give us this guarantee. As a precautionary measure, we therefore immediately took the decision to remove their products from our menus.
'As we use two beefburger suppliers we have been able to quickly replace all our Silvercrest stock through our alternative provider.'
ABP said fresh tests from burgers produced in the last two weeks confirmed a European processing company – believed to be in Spain or the Netherlands – as the source of contamination.
The unnamed company supplied a meat bulking protein powder that was used in burgers made for supermarkets in Britain and Ireland.
ABP also used the ingredient in the Yorkshire factory run by its Dalepak subsidiary.
Burger: More than ten million burgers have been removed from sale, including more than 100,000 made at the Yorkshire factory of Dalepak
Empty shelves: Tesco has taken its frozen burgers off the shelves as some contained 29 per cent horse meat
Last night the company said: ‘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 equine 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.’
The company also supplies Burger King but last night insisted there was no chance of the fast food chain's products being contaminated as they are made and stored separately at the plant.
It said: 'We would like to reiterate that all Burger King products produced by us are stored separately and manufactured on an independent line.
Cover-up? The Food Standards Agency is in charge of handling Britain's response to the scandal. However, the official watchdog has made efforts to limit the scope of its investigation
Bare: The frozen burger section of this Sainsbury's in Colchester stands empty today after the chain became one of many to pull its products
There is no evidence of any contamination of raw material used for the manufacture of any Burger King products.'
Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney said an investigation will continue to establish conclusively the source of the equine DNA.
In Britain, watchdogs are under pressure to test all supermarket frozen beefburgers for the presence of horse meat amid fears of an official cover-up.
The demand came after it emerged that a raft of big brand burgers and grills sold under the Ross, Dalepak, Flamehouse and Thomas Adams names are being withdrawn.
More than ten million burgers have been removed from sale, including more than 100,000 made at the Yorkshire factory of Dalepak, which supplied Iceland.
Labour says comprehensive food tests are needed to let families know how far horse meat contamination has spread into the food supply. The Government has put the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in charge of handling Britain’s response to the scandal, which was uncovered in Ireland.
However, the official watchdog has made efforts to limit the scope of its investigation.
Not for sale: Tesco in Bristol had removed all its own brand burgers from sale
The manufacturers involved also made cheap frozen burgers for Asda (pictured), Sainsbury's, and the Co-op among others
ICELAND'S CONTAMINATED BURGERS TO BECOME FUEL
As a result, families may never know the full extent of the contamination of burgers and other beef ready meals using suspect ingredients.
Tesco and Iceland have been selling burgers in the UK that came from batches found to be contaminated with horse meat in tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Supermarket giant Tesco has placed full-page adverts in a number of national newspapers apologising to customers for selling beefburgers containing horsemeat.
Aldi, Lidl and Iceland have also withdrawn frozen beefburgers from their shelves after they were found to be contaminated with horsemeat.
Although manufacturers Silvercrest and Dalepak also made cheap frozen burgers for other retailers such as Asda, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op, Britain’s FSA said yesterday morning that it had no intention of testing the burgers of these other stores, which were on shelves until they were withdrawn earlier this week.
Even so, Sainsbury's, Asda and the Co-op have withdrawn some frozen products but stressed that the move was 'purely precautionary' and they had not been found to be selling contaminated food.
FSA officials said there was no food safety risk and, therefore, no reason to test.
Later, however, it said: ‘If the FSA investigations being undertaken at the moment reveal that we need to look at additional food products then we will not hesitate to take action which may include further testing.’
Environment minister David Heath defended the Government’s handling of the crisis, telling MPs that UK standards are ‘very high’.
- A charity said the destruction of ten million burgers would be ‘pure waste’. Dan Crossley of the Food Ethics Council suggested they could be offered free to consumers willing to eat them if it could be shown they were safe.
VIDEO: Tesco withdraws burgers after horse meat was found in samples
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264179/Burger-factory-standstill-MORE-horse-meat-Premier-Inn-latest-big-firm-ditch-beef-contamination-fears.html#ixzz2IKXKpf00
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