Horse and pig DNA found in Irish supermarkets’ beef burgers

Horse and pig DNA found in Irish supermarkets’ beef burgers

The Irish Food Safety Authority (FSAI) of Ireland has announced that horse and pig meat was found in some beef burgers in major Irish supermarkets.

These burgers were on sale in supermarket chains Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland. The meat came from Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods meat processing plants, in Ireland, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in the United Kingdom.

According to the analysis of the 27 products which were tested, ten contained horse DNA while 23 out of the 27 contained pig. One sample taken from Tesco showed it was 29 percent horse.

FSAI Chief Executive Prof Alan Reilly said, “There is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process.

"In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger.

"Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable."

The findings do not pose a risk to the public’s health. However it raises concern over the traceability of the meat.

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said the findings are “totally unacceptable.” He has vowed to get to the bottom of the issue.

These results were returned by the FSAI burger survey.

John Bryan, the Irish Farmer’s Association President, expressed his surprise and concern, according to RTE. He said the mixed meat products did not come from Irish farmers and added that Irish farmers had gone to great expense to ensure full traceability of all animals.

Silvercrest Food told RTE they suspect “third party suppliers.” They said the company has never “purchased or traded in equine product.”

A spokesperson for Silvercrest Food said the company “has launched a full-scale investigation into two continental European third party suppliers who are the suspected source of the product in question."

Tesco supermarkets said those brands effect were Tesco Everyday Value brand and Flamehouse Chargrilled Quarter Pounders. Aldi removed the Oakhurst brand of beef burgers and announced their customers can receive a full refund.