Horsemeat scandal: Birds Eye names Irish source

Some Birds Eye products were pulled from the shelves over horsemeat worries. Picture: PA
Some Birds Eye products were pulled from the shelves over horsemeat worries. Picture: PA
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BIRDS Eye has named an Irish meat processor as the source of horse meat contamination in three of its frozen food products.

Birds Eye said QK Meats supplied meat with horse in it to Frigilunch N.V, who used it in products supplied to the company.

Frigilunch N.V.’s own independent tests and investigation had confirmed Birds Eye’s findings, which had been reported to the Food Standards Agency.

Frigilunch N.V. had suspended QK Meats, which is based in the Republic of Ireland, as a supplier of meat.

Birds Eye took its Spaghetti Bolognese 340g and Beef Lasagne 400g off shelves as a precaution on February 22 but tests later found that they did contain some horse DNA.

Birds Eye said in a statement: “As you know, we unfortunately had to withdraw a small number of our overall beef product range from sale on the February 22. We told you how sorry we were for letting you down and that we would keep you informed of what action we were taking and, once we got to the bottom of the problem, tell you how it happened.

“We can now reassure you that our comprehensive DNA testing programme on all our beef meat products is complete. We have now tested all products multiple times through multiple samples over a period of four weeks. During this process none of our Birds Eye Beef Burgers, Beef Pies and Traditional Beef Dinners tested positive for horse DNA.

“In total we have tested 250 products across Europe and confirmed three products as containing horse meat. All other products across our beef range both sold here in the UK and in our other markets in Europe have now been given the all clear and we have submitted our test results to the FSA as requested.

“You can rest assured that all other suppliers to Birds Eye have also been given the all clear.

“We are pleased that we have now completed our investigation and been able to isolate the problem to one source.”

The statement said Birds Eye had introduced a “triple lock” programme to ensure that no minced beef meat product can reach supermarket shelves without first having been cleared by three stages of DNA testing.

“This means that next time you see any of our minced beef meat products on shelf/in the freezer they will have been through this triple lock testing process so you can be sure you are eating what is labelled on the pack.

“We feel the same as our customers do - this should never have happened, but now that it has, it is up to us to make sure we do all we can to avoid it happening again.

“Aside from our triple lock DNA testing process, we will be looking at what other changes we can make to our supply chain. We know that our customers expect us to maintain the highest standards and we will continue to look for new ways to do so. We will keep you informed as we progress this.”