Burger King will no longer be sourcing burgers from the Irish company at the centre of the horse meat controversy, it has confirmed.
Burger King has more than 500 fast food outlets in Ireland and the UK. However, last night the company was unable to say how much the contract with Silvercrest, its supplier, was worth.
Silvercrest, a subsidiary of Larry Goodman’s ABP Food Group, last week suspended its operations in Co Monaghan after traces of horse DNA were found in samples of its burgers.
It destroyed more than 10 million beef burgers.
One frozen burger made by the plant was found to have had 29 per cent horse DNA relative to beef content.
In a statement issued yesterday, Burger King said food quality and safety were “a top priority” for its restaurants globally.
“We have stringent and overlapping controls to ensure that the products we sell to our customers meet our strict quality standards.
“While this is not a food safety issue according to findings from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), upon learning of these allegations, we immediately launched an independent investigation that is currently ongoing.
“As a precaution, this past weekend we decided to replace all Silvercrest products in the UK Ireland with products from another approved Burger King supplier,” it said.
“Unfortunately, this may mean that some of our products are temporarily unavailable. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience,” the statement added.
A spokesman for ABP Food Group said the company would be making no comment on the issue until it had completed its own investigation.
“The company stated earlier this week that it is concentrating its efforts on its internal investigations and it remains entirely focused on that task. It has previously stated that it is not commenting further, pending the conclusion of those investigations.”
Silivercrest has previously said its investigations had established the source of the contaminated material was a third-party EU supplier.
The food safety authority has said that the finding of horse DNA in beef burgers did not pose a risk to public health.
Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív said the move by Burger King development was “very bad news” for Silvercrest and would be a “cause of concern” for the entire beef-processing industry.
Meanwhile Aiden Cotter, the head of Bord Bia, has said the ongoing controversy has had little impact on buyer confidence outside of Ireland and Britain.