DUBLIN, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Burgers containing horse DNA have been discovered at a second plant in Ireland, the country’s agriculture department said on Monday, again pointing the finger at Poland as the country of origin for the raw materials.
Major food companies like Tesco and Burger King last month found that beef products supplied by an Irish firm contained horse DNA, a scandal that has hit retailers with a wave of bad publicity and left Ireland’s 2 billion euro ($2.7 billion) beef industry reeling.
Results of tests on a Polish meat ingredient at Ireland’s Rangeland Foods, a supplier of frozen burgers to restaurants, caterers and pubs including local fast food chain Supermac‘s, contained 75 percent horse DNA, the agriculture department in a statement.
It said Rangeland has suspended production pending the outcome of an investigation and that the company has indicated that none of the products, which were imported through a meat trader based in Ireland, had entered the food chain.
Rangeland, based in the northern county of Monaghan, exports burgers to Britain, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Cyprus.
The minister of agriculture has also asked the police to join in the investigation, the department added.
The first supplier to be implicated, Silvercrest - a subsidiary of Europe’s largest beef exporter ABP Foods - has lost its contract to supply both Tesco and Burger King with burgers.
Burger King, one of the most popular fast-food chains in Britain and Ireland, said last week that its affected burgers never reached any eateries. Tesco withdrew a number of products from its shelves, including one sample where horse meat accounted for about 29 percent of content.
Smaller retail chains Aldi, Lidl and Iceland have also sold beef products found to contain horse DNA.
Poland’s veterinary authority found no signs of horse meat in samples from five slaughterhouses that were sending beef to Ireland and is awaiting results from the sixth, state news agency PAP reported on Friday.
Food safety experts say horse DNA poses no added health risks to consumers, but the discovery has raised concerns about the food supply chain and the ability to trace meat ingredients.