Asda withdraws Greencore product with horse meat


Irish food group Greencore became the latest company to become embroiled in the horse meat scandal when it confirmed it manufactured bolognese sauce that British retailer Asda has withdrawn from the shelves after it was found to contain horse meat. Asda withdrew three other Greencore products “as a precautionary measure” but they did not test positive for equine DNA.

In a statement, Greencore said the beef was supplied to it by the ABP Food Group’s Nenagh plant in Co Tipperary. The Larry Goodman-controlled ABP also owns Silvercrest Foods, whose factory in Co Monaghan was one of the first whose products tested positive for horse DNA last month.

Greencore’s chief executive is Patrick Coveney, brother of Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

An ABP spokesman said the company “reiterates that we have never knowingly purchased or processed equine meat.”

Meanwhile, French investigations into the horse meat scandal stepped up a gear last night as the government accused meat processing company Spanghero of knowingly selling horse meat labelled as beef.

The company in southern France had its licence suspended yesterday. The French government said it believed the practice went on for six months and involved about 750 tonnes of meat. Spanghero rejected these accusations and said it placed an order for beef and believed it had received beef .

Burgers withdrawn

Meanwhile, Rangeland Foods in Co Monaghan is continuing to withdraw 9,200 burgers after tests found some samples contained between 5 and 30 per cent horse meat.

The company said it was likely some of the burgers had already been eaten.

Germany has become the latest country to find horse meat in its frozen food. Two major retailers removed own-brand lasagnes from their stores while two other retailers stopped sales of frozen lasagnes and cannelloni after their manufacturers could not rule out that they also contained horse meat.

The UK Food Standards Agency said three people had been arrested at meat plants in Yorkshire and Wales last night on suspicion of fraud.

Authorities in Britain and France are trying to trace the carcasses of six horses contaminated with the painkiller “bute” that were slaughtered in a UK abattoir and may have entered the human food chain in France.

The veterinary drug bute is potentially harmful to human health, and was detected in eight horses out of 206 tested by the UK Food Standards Agency earlier this month. Two horses were destroyed before leaving the slaughterhouse, but six were sent to France.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said “huge progress” had been made in the joint Department of Agriculture/ Garda investigation into how horse meat got into burgers produced in this State.

“We’re assembling a lot of data, a lot of evidence and we are undertaking interviews on the back of all that data to get a really informed view on what happened here,” he said. “But there’s a lot of work to do yet.”