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Services company says Rangeland products tested positive for horse DNA

Rangeland says all products are now being DNA tested before release, after Compass Group says it found horse DNA samples in its products despite Rangeland’s assurances.

Image: Neil T via Flickr

Updated, 15:06

A MAJOR corporate catering company has said products supplied to it by Rangeland Foods have tested positive for a “minor amount” of horse DNA – despite the copmany’s assurances that a contaminated ingredient had not entered the food chain.

Compass Group says it tested products supplied by Rangeland after the Monaghan-based supplier revealed it had identified horse DNA in a raw beef ingredient earlier this month.

Independent tests undertaken by Compass had shown a minor level of horse DNA in these products – despite assurances from Rangeland that the raw ingredient had not made it into the food chain.

“We are deeply concerned by this finding and that, despite the written assurances we and our supplier received, we have had this breach of our supply chain,” Compass said this lunchtime.

“We are working with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Food Standards Agency to establish the details of what happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

It added that it was to undertake a DNA testing programme across all of its processed meat products to vouch for their authenticity.

Rangeland yesterday said it was withdrawing some of its beef burgers after batches in the UK tested positive for between 5 and 30 per cent horsemeat.

Today it said it had decided to withdraw all of its “hitherto untested produce containing Polish-origin meat from the food chain”, and that this process had already begun.

“As of 7th February all produce manufactured by Rangeland use Irish-only meat and Rangeland has implemented a comprehensive DNA assessment of beef intake and products,” it said.

Every batch produced since then had been tested for equine DNA before being released to the food chain, it added.

Burgers withdrawn from NI hospitals

That disclosure prompted a services company in Northern Ireland to withdraw Rangeland burgers from hospitals in Northern Ireland.

“Since this issue has arisen, we’ve been working very closely with both the [British] Food Standards Agency and our own advisors to ensure that [...] the providence of the food chain is checked,” Business Services Organisation chief executive David Bingham told BBC Radio Ulster.

“Yesterday we have withdrawn one range of burger products where we’ve been advised by the supplier and the FSA to withdraw that range of burger products,” he said.

Bingham said he could not indicate how many of the North’s hospitals would have carried Rangeland burgers, but said the company had seven different beef suppliers.

A county council in England has also withdrawn beef products from the kitchens of 47 schools after provisional tests showed horse DNA content.

Provisional results on a pre-prepared cottage pie supplied to schools by Lancashire County Council had tested positive and been forwarded to the Food Standards Agency.

The council did not identify the supplier of its meals, however.

ABP ‘never knowingly purchased horse meat’

Meanwhile, the ABP Food Group has reiterated that it never knowingly purchased or processed any equine meat products.

The statement came after Greencore meals provided to Asda, using beef sourced from an AFP plant in Nenagh, tested positive for horse meat contents.

“In the last few weeks ABP has carried out hundreds of tests on fresh beef and to date they have all tested negative for equine DNA,” it said.

Read: Horse DNA found in products supplied by firm run by minister’s brother

Plus: Supermac’s distances itself from the Rangeland Foods horsemeat scandal

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Gavan Reilly

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