Goodman-owned ABP sued for defamation by meat trader

Martin McAdam claims group made false allegations about him to deflect horsemeat scandal media attention

Central to the case is a press release issued by ABP Group in February which stated that Silvercrest had purchased beef products from McAdams Food Service. Photograph:  Philip Fitzpatrick/PA

Central to the case is a press release issued by ABP Group in February which stated that Silvercrest had purchased beef products from McAdams Food Service. Photograph: Philip Fitzpatrick/PA

Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 11:03

The owner of a meat trading firm is to sue the company at the centre of the horsemeat scandal for alleged defamation.

Martin McAdam claims the Larry Goodman-owned ABP Food Group deliberately made “false and malicious allegations” about him and his business to deflect media attention at the height of the controversy.

McAdam Food Products Ltd said notice of High Court proceedings had been served on ABP, which has since sold its Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan — where horsemeat was detected in frozen burgers — to the Kepak Group.

ABP Group refutes the allegation, saying there is no basis for the claim or that it has damaged Mr McAdam’s reputation or the reputation of McAdam Food Products.

“ABP has every intention of fighting this spurious claim and is continuing to investigate its legal options against McAdam Food Products and other parties who are found to have supplied beef contaminated by horsemeat,” it said in a statement.

Central to the case is a press release issued by ABP Group in February which stated that Silvercrest had purchased beef products from McAdams Food Service — about 170 tonnes out of total beef purchases in 2012 of 18,000 tonnes — in good faith, but that horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products.

McAdam Food Products claims the statement issued by ABP Food Group was widely distributed and reported in the Irish and international media, “causing immense damage to the reputation and business of Martin McAdam and McAdam Food Products”.

Mr McAdam’s lawyers allege the ABP statement was false in that McAdam did not supply the meat to Silvercrest which tested positive for horse DNA.

They claim McAdam supplied only 60 tonnes of beef in total to Silvercrest in 2012, and not 170 tonnes as stated in the ABP press release.

“As the international horsemeat in beef contamination scandal unfolded from February 2013 onwards, Mr McAdam consistently stated that he had no awareness or knowledge whatsoever of any possibility of there being equine content in meat products imported and supplied by him to his customers,” McAdam Food Products said in its statement.

“Any such products were ordered and paid for by him at beef market prices and imported on the basis of their being understood and documented to be beef, and nothing else.”