|Polish food exporters must be cringing at the latest reports|
A scandal has erupted after traces of horse DNA were found in frozen beef burgers sold in various retail chains across the UK and Ireland. Most of the samples showed just trace amounts of horse DNA, but one of the samples tested contained 29 percent equine meat.
The supplier – Irish meat processing giant ABP, quickly closed one of its factories and began an investigation. It later emerged that the meat originated from Poland, but the Polish slaughterhouse owned by ABP issued a statement denying the allegations.
How the hamburgers became contaminated with horse DNA is still unknown. A Polish veterinary supervisor, Jarosław Naze, told The Guardian that none of the country’s slaughterhouses are licensed to kill horses. Samples from Polish slaughterhouses that supplied the ABP plants showed no traces of horse DNA. Mr Naze followed several lines of inquiry, including the possibility that horse meat was brought into slaughterhouses illegally, or that the meat entered the supply chain during the mincing process.
As a result of the scandal, British supermarket chain Tesco has canceled its contract with Silvercrest of Ireland (owned by ABP), one of the biggest burger producers in Europe, for “breach of trust” saying it had failed to source, as demanded, all ingredients from the UK and Ireland.
Tesco is also introducing its own DNA testing. Burger King, whose products were made on separate lines at Silvercrest, stopped using the plant last week. Traces of horse DNA were found in hamburgers in Spain as well. As of press time, the source had not been discovered.
To make matters worse, traces of rat poison have been found in powdered milk used in wafers and other sweets made by the Polish company Magnolia.
Their products are exported to Slovakia and even though further tests showed that the amounts were so low they were harmless to humans, tons of Magnolia’s products have been withdrawn from stores and Slovakian officials have called the European Commission to intervene in the matter.
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