Goodman firms buying more beef from Ireland and Britain
ABP Food Group chief executive Paul Finnerty
More beef is being bought by companies controlled by businessman Larry Goodman from farmers in Ireland and Britain following the horse meat controversy, ABP Food Group chief executive Paul Finnerty told MPs in London yesterday.
Before the crisis a third of the frozen beef bought by the company came from registered suppliers elsewhere in the European Union, but more purchases have now been from British or Irish suppliers, Mr Finnerty told the Commons’ environment, food and rural affairs committee.
During the hearing he was occasionally put under pressure by MPs including Labour’s Barry Gardiner, who expressed doubt about the value of the company’s word given the criticisms levelled against Mr Goodman 25 years ago in the beef tribunal.
Managers ‘stood aside’
Mr Finnerty said three managers at ABP’s Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan have been “stood aside” and remain on paid leave, while the head of the division responsible for running Silvercrest has also been stood down “pending the conclusion of investigations”.
Questioned about the plant’s future, Mr Finnerty would only say that “a number of options” are being examined. Silvercrest represents just 3 per cent of the company’s business, he said.
The Monaghan plant had used product from suppliers that were not on a list of firms accredited by its biggest client, Tesco, though even those who were aware that non-accredited suppliers were being used did not know that the meat was horse rather than beef, Mr Finnerty said.
The supply from Poland to Silvercrest went back several months, he said. He accepted that there had been a “breakdown” in controls. He declined to identify the suppliers who had been dropped.