Monaghan firm at centre of inquiry 'astonished and shocked' at findings

Lisdarragh House, Newbliss, Co Monaghan, the registered business address of McAdam Food Services

Lisdarragh House, Newbliss, Co Monaghan, the registered business address of McAdam Food Services

Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 00:00

A Co Monaghan company at the centre of the investigation into horse meat contamination has stated it is “astonished and shocked” that equine content has been identified in products it imported and supplied to other Irish companies.

As concerns grow about potential damage to the beef industry on both sides of the Border, McAdam Foods became the focus of the investigation into how horse meat was found in products labelled as beef.

McAdam Foods from Newbliss, Co Monaghan, said last night that “it had no awareness or knowledge whatsoever” of the possibility of equine content being found in meat products it imported from Poland.

“McAdam Foods states and confirms that any such products were bought and imported on the basis of their being ordered, documented, labelled and understood to be beef, and nothing else,” it added.

The company, run by Martin McAdam, said it was “co-operating fully and willingly with the authorities” and had supplied all relevant labels and documentation to inspectors of the Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Silvercrest purchases

The ABP Food Group, owned by Larry Goodman, said yesterday that its subsidiary Silvercrest Foods in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, bought about 170 tonnes of “beef products” from McAdam Foods last year. “It appears now that, while Silvercrest purchased these beef products in good faith, horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products,” it added.

Last month Silvercrest Foods lost contracts such as Tesco, Aldi and British supermarket chain The Co-operative Group after equine content was found in some of its burgers.

McAdam Foods is also being directly linked to horse meat contamination discovered in beef product supplied to Rangeland Foods based in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, which makes beef burgers.

“We are confident that the documentation and proof that we have provided to the authorities will fully exonerate our company and this is also the case in relation to the issue of equine DNA that was found in a Polish consignment sent in early January to our customer Rangeland Foods,” McAdam Foods said. The company said it had provided the Irish authorities with the name of its “specific” Polish supplier.

80 per cent horse meat

The North’s Food Standard Agency, meanwhile, was last night continuing to investigate how part of a meat consignment from McAdam Foods and stored in a Newry meat company plant labelled as beef was found to contain 80 per cent horse meat.

Freeza Meats in Newry said that the frozen block of meat containing horse meat was stored in its plant following a request from McAdam Food Services in Newbliss, Co Monaghan — and this was last night confirmed by McAdam Foods.

“In August 2012 we were approached by the meat trader McAdam Foods Services to purchase a parcel of raw material, which we declined. Martin McAdam subsequently asked us to hold his product in storage which we did in goodwill in a separated area of the storage facility,” Freeza said in a statement.

The firm said the meat was put into quarantine at its Newry plant awaiting direction from the local environmental health office. “There have been no traces of equine DNA in any samples taken from Freeza Meats products,” it added.