Monaghan firm involved in horse meat controversy is part of Goodman empire


Silvercrest Foods, the Co Monaghan producer of the sample of beef burgers in which horse meat accounted for 29.1 per cent of their meat content, is part of the Larry Goodman meat processing empire.

Mr Goodman (75) is one of Ireland’s richest and most controversial business figures and in the 1980s headed a business that was responsible for approximately 4 per cent of Irish Gross National Product.

His ABP Food Group had a turnover of €2.2 billion in the 12 months to the end of March 2012 and approximately 7,500 employees. It has its headquarters in Ardee, Co Louth.

Frozen burgers

The group’s website says that its Silvercrest division produces high quality frozen burgers for leading retailers across Ireland, Britain and Europe. It says it is dedicated to producing burgers of the highest quality and uses a unique coding system that allows for full traceability “for every retail pack produced back to the farm”.

ABP Foods, the group holding company, is an unlimited company and does not produce accounts. It is in turn owned by two companies based in St Helier, Jersey.

Mr Goodman is a director and chairman of the company. Group chief executive Paul Finnerty, is also a director of ABP Foods.

The English plant cited in the food authority’s report, Dalepak Hambleton, is part of the Dalepak Foods Group, which is also part of the ABP Food Group. The British holding company, Anglo Beef Processors, is based in Shropshire and is in turn owned by a company based in Jersey.

Controversies surrounding the then government’s relationship with Mr Goodman’s companies, and their handling of EU intervention beef, led to the establishment of the Beef tribunal in the early 1990s. The issues examined included the giving of export credit insurance to the group, which was exporting meat to Iraq.

An issue disclosed during the hearings was that meat bought by the EU and given to the Goodman group for cutting and storage, was handled in such a way that the surplus beef became available for sale to supermarkets.

Into examinership

In 1990 the Goodman Group went into examinership but Mr Goodman eventually managed to win back control of the business and resume its development.

Another meat business cited in the food authority report, Liffey Meats, was associated with relatively minute amounts of non-beef meat in its burgers. It is owned by the Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan company Liffey Meats. As an unlimited company it does not publish accounts. It is in turn owned by an Isle of Man company. The group is owned by Frank, Carol and Francis Mallon, with Frank Mallon holding by far the largest shareholding.