Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Horse meat crisis 'will be sorted'

Production has been suspended at Rangeland, a frozen burger supplier established in 1892

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has committed to resolving the horse meat crisis after food safety chiefs warned of fraudsters drip-feeding contaminated product into the food chain.

As the scandal spread to more processors, the fraud squad has been called in to help agriculture authorities track down the source of the mislabelled meat.

"This is a matter of reputation, obviously we cannot afford to have that," Mr Kenny said. "It is a matter that needs to be sorted out and it will be sorted out."

Rangeland Foods in Co Monaghan was one of the latest plants shut down after a sample at the factory tested positive with a reading of 75% horse DNA in raw ingredients, authorities said.

It supplies burgers to one of Ireland's most popular fast food chains, Supermac's, but the restaurant's chief executive Pat McDonagh has insisted he is sure all his burgers are 100% Irish.

The highest level of horse has been found in a quantity of frozen meat being stored in Northern Ireland.

Freeza Meats in Newry had meat which was 80% horse, which the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) said was potentially linked to the Silvercrest factory in Ireland, one of the first processors to be named in the scandal. The meat has not entered the food chain.

The same meat trader in Ireland has supplied meat to Freeza, Silvercrest and Rangeland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said.

The source has been blamed on a meat supplier in Poland. Professor Alan Reilly, whose research at the FSAI first exposed the contamination of processed beef burgers in Irish-made products, is due to brief a parliamentary committee on the controversy later.

Irish Farmers' Association president John Bryan said the deepening scandal was further evidence that only Irish raw material must be used in the manufacture of Irish beefburgers. "It is clear that stricter controls must apply to the secondary processing industry, particularly where imported products are being used," he said.

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