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Irish firm supplies horsemeat to Birds Eye

06 March 2013

Birds Eye has accused an Irish processing plant of supplying meat contaminated with traces of horse DNA. The frozen food giant claims that QK Meats in County Kildare sent the meat to Belgian firm Frigilunch, which used it in products supplied to Birds Eye. According to The Guardian, the Belgian firm has now suspended all arrangements with QK Meats.

Last month Bird’s Eye withdrew its Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese (340g), Shepherd’s Pie (400g) and Beef Lasagne (400g) lines in the UK. The products also came from Frigilunch and were found to contain traces of horse DNA.

In a statement, Bird’s Eye said: “Our investigation has shown that Frigilunch NV (who supplied these products to us) was itself supplied meat with horse in it by an Irish meat processor QK Meats. Frigilunch NV’s own independent tests and investigation have confirmed our findings.

"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 (UK Food Standards Agency) 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."

Birds Eye said it had introduced a programme to ensure that no minced beef product could reach supermarket shelves without first having been cleared by three stages of DNA testing.
"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."

QK Meats said it had ‘an exemplary record in terms of food quality and safety standards’. The company added that it had never knowingly incorporated horsemeat into any of its beef products and had launched a full investigation.

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