ABP Food Group − the company whose subsidiary Silvercrest Foods supplied Tesco with burgers contaminated with horse DNA − has pledged to become “an industry leader” in DNA testing procedures and repeated its apology.
Commenting after Tesco’s decision to drop Silvercrest Foods as one of its suppliers, Paul Finnerty, ABP Food Group ceo, said: “We have put in place new procedures to audit all our third party suppliers. We have also established comprehensive DNA testing procedures – we will become an industry leader in this area.”
Finnerty said the firm had “learnt important lessons” from this incident and was determined to ensure that a similar incidenct never happenned again.
Total management change
“We have already implemented total management change at the Silvercrest facility – which remains closed. We also have effected a group re-organisation to better manage our convenience foods business,” he added.
ABP Food Group acknowledged Tesco’s decision to stop sourcing from Silvercrest Foods. But it welcomed the retailer’s decision to continue sourcing fresh beef from other ABP companies. “The ABP Food Group has developed a very strong business - based on trust. We have let our customers down in this incident and we apologise for this,” said the company in a statement.
The company went on to add: “We are proud of our excellent reputation for quality and service throughout Europe and are determined not to allow the Silvercrest incident to overshadow what is a great business.”
Earlier today (January 30) Tim Smith, Tesco group technical director and formerly Food Standards Agency boss, said Silvercrest had sourced meat from non-approved suppliers. “The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them. Nor was the meat from the UK or Ireland ... "
Smith is due to give evidence on the incident to the influential cross-party Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA).
Last week, the Irish government declared a “major breakthrough” in the investigation into the horse meat DNA found in value burgers, as “conclusive test results” link the source to an ingredient from a Polish supplier.
ABP Food Group also admitted it had found the source of the horse meat in the burgers produced at Silvercrest Foods but refused to name the source.
Watch out for our report from the EFRA committee meeting tomorrow.