Rangeland to resume production
The home of businessman Martin McAdam was raided in the ongoing inquiry into the burger scandal. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Rangeland Foods will resume production at its plant in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan tomorrow morning after getting the go-ahead from the Department of Agriculture tonight.
The plant, which supplies frozen beef burgers to fast food restaurants and the catering industry, suspended production on Monday, following the interception of a Polish beef product which tested positive for horse DNA.
It said the frozen beef product had not entered the food chain. The beef was supplied by McAdam Foods who in turn received it from a UK meat trader. The Department of Agriculture?s special investigation unit and gardai are investigating the matter.
Earlier, Aldi announced the withdrawal of some French-supplied beef products from its Irish stores amid concerns that they ?do not conform to specification?.
The supermarket chain said the products Today?s Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today?s Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese were being withdrawn as a ?precautionary measure?.
French supplier Comigel had ?flagged concerns that the products do not conform to specification,? the retailer said in a statement.
?They have been withdrawn immediately so that Aldi can conduct its own investigations into the factory concerned,? it said.
?We will continue to maintain active scrutiny across our supply lines and will always put the quality of our products and safety of our customers first.?
Meanwhile Asda has withdrawn four frozen burger products made by Freeza Meats in Newry, Co Down because it has been linked with the controversy over horse meat in burgers.
Freeza Meats had been holding a consignment of meat for McAdam Foods which has been identified as containing 80 per cent horse meat.
Freeza said the Polish beef product had been held in a separated area of the storage facility and all tests carried out on its own finished burgers had been negative for horse meat.
Asda said it was withdrawing the burgers as a precaution and pointed out that no trace of horse meat had been found in Freeza products.
?We conducted our own DNA tests, along with environmental health officers, on the four burger products being produced by Freeza Meats for Asda and these have come back free of any trace of horse meat,? the supermarket chain said in a statement.
?Although all the science says there?s no trace of horse meat in the burgers produced for Asda, we can?t and won?t take any chances when it comes to the authenticity of ingredients in our products ? so as a precaution we?ve taken all four frozen burger products off sale.
?We have instructed Freeza Meats to segregate and hold any frozen burgers currently in production or in their supply chain destined for Asda. These four products will remain withdrawn from sale until further notice.?
McAdam Foods elaborated on the reason it asked Freeza Meats to store the Polish meat product. In a statement it said the consignment of frozen meat came in pallets that were too high to store at a nearby food processing facility.
It said it had ordered and received the product last July from a UK supplier.
Martin McAdam was abroad when it arrived in July and could not organise alternative storage facilities so ?Freeza kindly provided storage in this instance as a gesture of goodwill from one industry participant to another?.
McAdam Foods also subsequently offered it for sale to Freeza and this was declined. The meat was quarantined in September following an inspection by an environmental health officer with Newry and Mourne District Council due to labelling issues.
The statement said McAdam Foods had relinquished its ownership of the consigned and had insisted that the UK supplier redeem the goods.
Meanwhile, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association beef chairman Edmond Phelan said the meat industry and the Minister for Agriculture still not had explained why Irish companies were importing meat to put in Irish burgers.