Manufacturer to install revised regime of testing
on 17/01/2013 00:00:00
Apologising for "the understandable concern this issue has caused" and admitting to being shocked by the test results which showed contamination, the statement read: "[We] are currently at a loss to explain why one test showed 29% equine DNA.
"Current investigations are centred on beef products which originated from two suppliers, and we have today dispatched auditors to their sites to conduct unannounced spot checks. We are conducting our own DNA tests on a wide number of samples and expect the results in the coming days.
"While extensive and thorough safety checks are conducted on all meat products, the industry does not routinely DNA test meat products for species. As a result of this incident we are implementing a new testing regime for meat products which will include DNA analysis.
"Should our own testing prove positive, we are also considering our options in respect of the two suppliers concerned. It is vital that the integrity of the supply chain is assured and we are committed to restoring consumer confidence."
The companies at the centre of the horse meat controversy tried to reassure customers that everything was back to normal, but questions have been raised over the future supply of product. As various investigations got under way in a bid to pinpoint where and how the horse meat entered the beef production chain, 10 million burgers from the contaminated batch were removed from the shelves of Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl as the story gained international coverage.
Tesco's press office in England said it was "too early to speculate" as to future arrangements, as everything is awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the cause of the contamination.
Earlier, Tim Smith, group technical director at Tesco and a former chief executive at the Food Standards Agency, said: "We will not take any products from this site until the conclusion and satisfactory resolution of an investigation.
"The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious.
"Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards."
Aldi and Lidl also signalled their intention to await the results of the investigations, with Aldi stating it was conducting its own probe. "We have sought information from one supplier, Silvercrest, which is dealing directly with the [Food Safety Authority of Ireland] on the issue that has been raised," the company said.
Lidl said it removed all affected products from sale pending a full investigation. "A refund will be provided to customers who wish to return affected products," a spokesman said.
Earlier in the day, Silvercrest chief executive Paul Finnerty told Morning Ireland: "We don't buy any horse meat, and the product in question from the suppliers, that's being examined at the moment. It will take two or three days to get to the bottom of that."