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Meat trader takes legal action against ABP over horsemeat scandal

McAdam Food Products claims it was defamed by the Larry Goodman-owned firm.

Image: Burgers via Shutterstock

A MEAT TRADER who found himself at the centre of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year is taking food giant ABP to court, alleging defamation.

Martin McAdam is suing the firm for alleged defamation and loss of business over assertions made in public during the industry crisis in February.

The notice of High Court proceedings has now been served on ABP.

The Monaghan businessman believes that ABP made deliberate, false and malicious allegations about his company – Martin McAdam Food Products Ltd. He will be put to the court that the firm allegedly used the trader to “deflect media attention away” from itself when it was at the centre of the horsemeat scandal.

ABP says it has every intention of fighting what it describes as a “spurious claim”, adding that it does not believe there is any basis for the suit. The food giant is “continuing to investigate its legal options”, according to a statement.

McAdam’s case will focus on a press release issued by ABP which mentioned the firm.

According to McAdam’s legal team, the statement was “widely distributed and reported in the Irish and international media, causing immense damage to the reputation and business of Martin McAdam and McAdam Food Products.”

The lawyers claim the statement was factually incorrect as McAdam did not supply meat to Silvercrest which tested positive for horse DNA. Equine content was identified in products that were both imported and supplied through the Monaghan-based facility but, at the time, McAdam said that he had “no awareness or knowledge whatsoever of any possibility of there being equine content in meat products” it imported or supplied.

The company co-operated with Department of Agriculture investigations and was cleared of knowingly importing  horsemeat. Following its probe, the Department’s report stated:

Whilst it is evident that McAdam Food Products supplied adulterated processed meat products to Rangeland, there is no evidence that this company knowingly traded processed meat product that was subsequently found to have tested positive for equine DNA.

The report did not mention McAdam supplying ABP with beef containing horse DNA.

In a statement today, McAdam clarified, “The claim against ABP Food Group is in relation to the assertions made by ABP when there was no evidence linking McAdam to the product at Silvercrest which was under investigation.”

READ: McAdam Foods “shocked” to discover equine content was in its meat products

MORE: Irish consumers favouring cheaper cuts of lamb as sales rise dramatically

RELATED: People buying fewer frozen burgers after horse meat scandal

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