Greencore awaits outcome of tests
Irish company Greencore is awaiting the results of further tests, following the discovery that traces of equine DNA have been found in a bolognese sauce being sold by supermarket chain Asda.
The convenience food company said it was extremely concerned that one of its products “might have been compromised this way”.
The sauces were withdrawn by the British retailer last night.
Greencore said the sauce contained meat that was supplied by the ABP Food Group’s plant in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. This brings Larry Goodman’s ABP group under the spotlight again, following last month’s revelation that a burger produced by its Silvercrest Foods plant in Monaghan contained 29 per cent horse meat. Silvercrest Foods remains closed as investigations continue.
Greencore said it was working closely with the ABP Food Group to determine the full facts as it awaited the results of the further tests. It said traces of equine DNA had been found in the Chosen By You 350g beef bolognese sauce.
“The company is currently awaiting the results of further quantitative tests that will validate the presence and the extent of the equine DNA,” it said in a statement.
An ABP spokesman said “in the last few weeks we have carried out hundreds of tests on fresh beef and to date they have all tested negative for equine DNA. ABP again reiterates that we have never knowingly purchased or processed equine meat.”
Asda also withdrew a beef broth soup, a chilli con carne soup and a meat feast pasta sauce made by Greencore as a precaution. None were found to contain horse DNA.
The Greencore statement said the company was committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety and food traceability “and is therefore extremely concerned that the quality of one of its products may have been compromised in this way.
“The company is participating in full with the intensive industry testing programme to examine the full supply chain to restore consumer confidence”.
Greencore Group plc has 23 convenience foods manufacturing sites in the UK and the US and employs about 11,000 people. Its chief executive is Patrick Coveney, brother of Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Some 9,200 frozen beef burgers are being withdrawn by Rangeland Foods following tests that found some samples contained between 5 and 30 per cent horse meat.
The burgers were produced in September at the plant in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, for two UK customers in the catering and wholesale business. The company said it was likely that some of the burgers had already been consumed.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said the products had been distributed in Ireland as well as in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
They were not on sale in supermarkets. The horse meat content was first detected in tests by a UK customer.
A spokeswoman for Rangeland Foods said the burger product was specifically produced for the UK market and was made to a specification for EU beef from EU-approved suppliers.
She said the company did not know why the burgers were being distributed in Ireland. She said that this was a matter for the UK distributors.