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Birds Eye says products containing horse DNA came from Ireland

The company says it has carried out an investigation into all its beef products after some had to be withdrawn in February after horse DNA tests proved positive.

File photo
File photo
Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Updated, 12:52

BIRDS EYE HAS said products which were found to contain horse DNA originated from a meat processing plant in Ireland.

In a statement this morning, the company said it had carried out an investigation into all its beef products after it withdrew spaghetti bolognese and beef lasagne from shelves in Ireland, the UK and Belgium on 22 February following tests which found horse DNA.

Birds Eye said the investigation found that Frigilunch NV, the company which supplied the meat products for the lasagne and bolognese, got its meat from Irish meat processor QK Meats, which is based in Naas in Kildare.

Frigilunch has now suspended QK meats as a supplier.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has been informed of the findings.

Birds Eye says it has now tested all products “multiple times through multiple samples” over a period of four weeks and says all products have been given the all clear.

“We feel the same as our customers do – this should never of [sic] happened, but now that it has, it is up to us to make sure we do all we can to avoid it happening again,” the company said.

It has introduced a ‘triple lock’ DNA testing programme which it says will ensure no minced beef meat product will reach supermarket shelves without first having been through three stages of DNA testing.

Birds Eye says it has agreed with all of its suppliers that they will carry out DNA tests on all meat as it enters and leaves their premises.

In response, QK Meats said it had “never knowingly incorporated horsemeat into any of its beef products” throughout its 25 years in business.

“QK Meats has launched a full investigation into its supply chain,” it said.

Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly

Read: FSAI says 29 out of 634 beef products tested positive for horsemeat >

Read: Icelandic tests reveal beef pie has… no meat content whatsoever >

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