Poland has been outed as the source of the horsemeat contamination that has cost the Irish agricultural industry millions of dollars in lost trade.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has confirmed that raw ingredients from Poland are the source of the contamination in Irish burgers.
Fast food giant Burger King has already canceled a near $40 million deal to source beef in Ireland after horsemeat was traced in the burgers produced by the Silvercrest company.
Now the Sunday Independent has reported that experts have traced the source of the equine DNA to products from a company in Poland which has been supplying raw materials to Silvercrest in the past year.
Department of Agriculture tests on the actual raw material have highlighted significant levels of equine DNA with the highest at over 20 percent.
Minister Coveney told the paper that it was more than likely that the Polish food component was responsible for the 29.5 percent reading of equine DNA contained in one Tesco burger tested last December.
Now Coveney has demanded major changes in the way the meat plant is run.
The paper reports that the company has agreed to source all products from Ireland and the UK only, to change the management at Silvercrest and to remove all products from the plant immediately, either to be destroyed or put in cold storage.
Coveney said: “While early results had showed trace levels of equine DNA in imported raw materials, the latest result showed significant levels of equine DNA (4.1 percent) in raw material which was used in the manufacture of burgers, which the department found to contain significant amounts of DNA.
“The investigation has therefore established a direct correlation between burgers in which a high level of equine DNA was detected and this raw-material product from Poland.
“Silvercrest will commence a deep cleansing of the plant under new management and will submit to a six-month period of direct scrutiny by department inspectors.
“I also want a permanent presence from my department at the plant from now on and I want DNA testing carried out on a weekly, if not daily, basis.”