HUGE GARDA AND DEPARTMENT PROBE INTO HORSE MEAT ‘LINK’ TO MID-MONAGHAN PLANTS

8 February 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By PATSY McARDLE

A HUGE investigation is continuing this week into horse meat DNA links to burger meats which has rocked the beef processing sector with an unwelcome focus on major suppliers in Co. Monaghan, and processing plants at Ballybay and Lough Egish near Castleblayney.

THE second meat processing plant in Mid-Monaghan revealed at the weekend that positive traces of horse meat was found in stock, which was not processed.

THE Department of Agriculture has confirmed findings of 75 per cent equine DNA in supplied meat stock, which had not been processed, at the Rangeland Foods plant at Lough Egish.
This startling revelation came within a week after the ABP Food Group lost an estimated €45 million in contracts over horse meat DNA linked to the Silvercrest Food plant at Ballybay, which employs 140 workers.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that members of a Special Investigations’ Unit from the Department of Agriculture and Foods is involved—along with the Garda Fraud Bureau—in a bid to firmly establish the exact sourcing of the horse meat.

In a statement on Monday last the Department said production was temporarily suspended at Rangeland, a frozen burger supplier which was established in 1982 with a turnover of €18m euro and currently employing around 80 people.

“The company has indicated none of the product, in which the equine DNA was detected, had entered the food chain,” the Department said.

Inquiries into whether ‘Polish-labelled’ meat has been used in other processing plants elsewhere in the country are now ongoing.

It can be revealed that in the wake of the earlier controversy in which it emerged there was horse meat DNA linked to beefburgers at Silvercrest Foods in Ballybay—which led to a withdrawal of major contracts by leading supermarkets and fast-food chains—Rangeland called in the authorities last Thursday, amid suspicions that ‘Polish-sourced meat’ might contain equine DNA.
The ongoing investigation revealed that a Polish-based food service, which is one of Poland’s biggest beef exporters, emerged as the supplier of frozen blocks of meat, which the Irish processors have claimed were responsible for burgers containing up to 29 per cent equine DNA.
The Polish company has admitted it supplied Silvercrest with up to 20 tonnes …

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