Inquiry into horse meat found in burgers


An investigation into the production of beef burgers containing horse meat is focusing on imported ingredients, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said last night.

A study by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)found the presence of horse DNA in more than a third of the beef burger products it tested.

They were on sale in Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland. It found pig DNA in 85 per cent of burgers tested.

Of the 27 frozen beef burger products analysed, 10, or 37 per cent, tested positive for horse DNA. The products which tested positive for horse DNA were produced by two Irish plants, Liffey Meats in Cavan and the ABP-owned Silvercrest Foods, and by UK company Dalepak Hambleton, owned by ABP UK.

Nine of the 10 samples contained low traces of horse DNA, less than 0.1 per cent in some cases. But the level of DNA in a Tesco Everyday Beef Burger indicated that horse meat accounted for 29.1 per cent of the meat content. The product from Silvercrest Foods contained 63 per cent beef.

The nine samples containing low levels of horse meat were taken from: Aldi’s Oakhurst Beef Burgers; Dunnes Stores’ St Bernard Beef Burgers and Flamehouse Chargrilled Quarter Pounders; Lidl’s Moordale Beef Burgers, Moordale Ultimate Beef Burgers and Moordale Quarter Pounders; Tesco’s Beef Quarter Pounders; and Iceland Quarter Pounders (twice).

Mr Coveney said it was “totally unacceptable” almost a third of the meat content of a burger could be horse meat. He said the Department of Agriculture had taken new samples from the Silvercrest plant and results would be available within 48 hours.The FSAI said retailers were removing all implicated batches from sale yesterday.