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ABP sells Silvercrest plant mired in horsemeat controversy

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the announcement was good for the Irish food industry.

Image: AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

MEAT PROCESSING COMPANY ABP has sold its Silvercrest Foods plant in Monaghan which was embroiled in the horsemeat controversy.

In a statement, ABP said it had taken the decision to exit the frozen burger business in Ireland completely in order to focus instead on its core business.

Chief executive Paul Finnerty said that ABP was “only one of a large number” of companies in Europe which had been affected by the “equine issue.”

“Our decision to sell the Ballybay facility allows the [ABP] Group to move forward positively with our core chilled beef business and other developing businesses,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the announcement was good news for the companies involved and for the Irish food industry.

The Monaghan facility is to be sold to the Kepak Group, subject to approval from the Competition Authority.

The 122 staff currently employed at Silvercrest Foods will continue to be employed at the meat processing facility under its new owners as part of the deal. All staff have been on full pay while the future of the plant was under discussion since the outbreak of the horse meat coontroversy.

ABP, which is one of the biggest processors of meat in Europe, suspended all production at its Silvercrest Foods plant in January after horse DNA was found in frozen beef burgers.

Last month is said it had been the victim of a “wide-scale European equine fraud” which had led to “considerable” costs.

“The announcement today is good news for the companies concerned and for the Irish food industry generally,” Minister Coveney said.

“This is also very good news for the employees at the Silvercrest plant and local economy at Ballybay, Co Monaghan.”

ABP did not reveal how much Kepak paid for the facility.

Horsemeat scandal: Dept refuses to release over 200 pages of emails with FSAI >

Read: Second set of horsemeat tests published by FSAI >

Read: ‘We have a right to expect better’ – Coveney on the horsemeat saga >

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