[Photograph: frozen burger patties from Shutterstock]
Burger King has stopped using beef processing plant Silvercrest in Ireland after tests revealed “very small trace levels” of horse DNA in its products, reports The Guardian. Silvercrest is one of the plants whose frozen burger patties were found to contain horse DNA over two weeks ago. Supermarkets in the UK and Ireland quickly pulled the beef from their shelves, but Burger King was initially confident that the tainted meat didn’t affect them. A week later on January 23, Burger King issued a press release announcing they were replacing all Silvercrest products—used at their locations in the UK, Ireland, and Denmark—with another approved supplier’s.
Burger King’s latest press release from January 31 gives more information about the supplier switch and what they found in their investigation:
Our independent DNA tests results on product taken from BURGER KING® restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. This product was never sold to our restaurants.
Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. 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.
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.”
We remain committed to identifying suppliers that can produce 100% pure Irish and British beef products for us that meet our high quality standards.
The Guardian has more information about the Polish supplier, which “had been supplying meat used in British and Irish products for up to a year.”