Supermarket giant axes contracts after horsemeat burger scare

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The UK’s largest food retailer, Tesco yesterday confirmed that it had severed supply ties with ABP’s Silvercrest meat plant following the “horse meat in burgers” scandal.

The decision was announced by Tim Smith, Tesco group technical director, who said that Silvercrest, which is based on Co Monaghan, Ireland, had used meat from unauthorised suppliers.

At the weekend, Irish farm minister Simon Coveney announced that investigations by food inspectors into how the horse meat had become mixed in the beef burgers pointed to processing plants in Poland.

Smith said the Tesco agreement with Silvercrest stated that only beef from Ireland or the UK had to be used in the burgers and because of the breaking of that agreement, Tesco would no longer be taking products from that supplier.

Work at the Silvercrest meat plant has been suspended since the scandal broke two weeks ago.

In another part of his announcement yesterday Smith, who is a former chief executive with the Food Standards Authority, said that Tesco would be installing a comprehensive system of DNA testing of all meat products to prevent any deviation from the company’s high standards.

“We will not take anything for granted after this incident,” he commented.