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ABP Food Group to Reorganise After Irish Beef Burger Contamination

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ABP Food Group to Reorganise After Irish Beef Burger Contamination

ABP Food Group to Reorganise After Irish Beef Burger Contamination
January 29
12:54 2013

While welcoming the statement from the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the equine DNA issue that confirms the contamination originates from third party continental supply, ABP Food Group has taken steps to change the management of its Silvercrest business, which has been at the centre of the Irish beef burger contamination problem.

Paul Finnerty, group chief executive of ABP Food Group, comments: “This has been a very difficult experience for all involved and has led to a significant interruption in business for Silvercrest and its customers. We are relieved that the source of the problem has been identified.”

He continues: “While the company has never knowingly purchased or traded in equine product, I wish to take this opportunity to apologise for the impact this issue has caused.”

The company was initially alerted to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland findings on the evening of Monday 14 January. Whilst this was never a food safety issue it immediately took the responsible decision to recommend to its customers that they withdraw relevant products. When it became apparent that additional tests had indicated that other Silvercrest products might be affected with equine DNA contamination the company immediately suspended production at its Silvercrest plant.

The company stresses that it has never knowingly bought or processed horse meat and all of its purchases are from approved and licensed EU plants.

Arising out of its extensive internal investigations during the last two weeks ABP has decided to appoint a new management team at the Silvercrest facility. ABP has also undertaken a group reorganisation. With immediate effect responsibility for the Silvercrest business will transfer to ABP Ireland (the Irish chilled beef division). The sister business in the UK, Dalepak Foods, will come under the immediate control of ABP UK (the UK chilled beef business).

Silvercrest will commence a deep cleansing of the plant under new management and will submit to a six month period of direct scrutiny by inspectors from the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, after which it will be reviewed. As part of this supervision, the Department will carry out weekly sampling of production in order to provide the necessary reassurance to customers on the integrity of the production chain. A key component of this is the company’s commitment to source all its raw material from Ireland and the UK.

ABP has already started to implement a new DNA testing regime over and above any legal requirements. This DNA testing (including equine) will be in addition to its current testing regime which the company carries out for food safety requirements.

The source of the contaminated meat from Poland is not related to ABP’s plant in Poznan. As with all other parts of the group this plant does not process any horse meat.

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