Positive DNA tests on beef in Kildare cold store, Coveney
Meanwhile, the heads of some of Britain's biggest food retailers and producers joined forces today in an attempt to regain consumer trust in meat products as the scandal over mislabeled horse produce spreads around Europe.
"The food industry is determined to restore consumer confidence in the food we sell as quickly as possible," the 11 chief executive officers, including Tesco's Philip Clarke, Asda Stores's Andy Clarke, Justin King from J Sainsbury and Dalton Philips of William Morrison Supermarkets, said in a joint letter published in the UK today.
While the food industry chiefs said in the letter that "fraudulent activity or even as alleged, an international criminal conspiracy" may be to blame, UK prime minister David Cameron said retailers "bear a real responsibility," as "at the end of the day they are putting products on their shelves."
Yesterday, Irish food group Greencore became the latest company to become embroiled in the horse meat scandal when it confirmed it manufactured bolognese sauce that British retailer Asda has withdrawn from the shelves after it was found to contain horse meat. Asda withdrew three other Greencore products "as a precautionary measure" but they did not test positive for equine DNA.
In a statement, Greencore said the beef was supplied to it by the ABP Food Group’s Nenagh plant in Co Tipperary. The Larry Goodman-controlled ABP also owns Silvercrest Foods, whose factory in Co Monaghan was one of the first whose products tested positive for horse DNA last month.
Greencore’s chief executive is Patrick Coveney, brother of Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
An ABP spokesman said the company “reiterates that we have never knowingly purchased or processed equine meat.”
Separately the president of French meat processor Spanghero today promised to disprove allegations that his firm knowingly sold horsemeat labelled as beef, and accused the government of being too quick to point the finger.
The French government yesterday accused meat processing company Spanghero of knowingly selling horse meat labelled as beef. The company in southern France had its licence suspended yesterday. The French government said it believed the practice went on for six months and involved about 750 tonnes of meat. Spanghero rejected these accusations and said it placed an order for beef and believed it had received beef .
In the widening scandal, Dutch inspectors have begun taking samples to discover whether shipments contained a drug given to some horses that is banned for animals intended for human consumption.