BEEF BARON Larry Goodman has broken his silence over the discovery of significant amounts of horse DNA in beef burgers produced at plants owned by one of his companies.
Goodman, the executive chairman of the ABP Food Group which owns Silvercrest Foods in Co Monaghan, told the Financial Times that DNA testing was by its nature a sensitive process which could be influenced by environmental factors.
“We are talking about DNA testing and DNA will pick up molecules and something in the air,” he told reporter Jamie Smyth, adding that he “would be surprised” if DNA testing had not revealed DNA samples of other species.
Production at the Silvercrest plant has been suspended entirely following the publication of a second round of test results, which showed traces of equine DNA in nine out of 13 burgers produced at the plant.
The second tests had been prompted by initial tests taken from supermarket burgers in November, which found samples of horse DNA in 10 out of 23 burgers tested.
One of the burgers produced at the Silvercrest facility, Tesco’s ‘Everyday Value’ beef burger, was shown to have 29 per cent equine content.
It is now believed that the source of the contamination came from an ‘add-on’ to a burger product sourced from the Netherlands, where authorities this morning confirmed that inquiries were underway.
“The FSAI in Ireland asked for our assistance regarding their investigation on horse DNA in beefburgers,” a spokeswoman for the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority told TheJournal.ie this morning.
“The results of our investigation will be shared with our Irish colleagues,” the spokeswoman said, adding that these first results were expected to come in early next week.