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Production halted at plant as department confirms equine DNA found

All production has been suspended at the Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan “with immediate effect.”

Image: Hamburgers on Grill via Shutterstock

THE DEPARTMENT OF Agriculture has confirmed that equine DNA was found in products that were produced in the Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan between 3-14 January.

Having tested seven samples of raw ingredients, one, which had been sourced from another Member State, tested positive.

All ingredients which had been sourced from Irish suppliers tested negative for equine DNA.

Out of 13 samples of “finished burgers” that were tested, nine tested positive for equine DNA.

The Department of Agriculture have said that their investigations are set to continue.

In a statement tonight, the ABP Food Group said that as a result of the findings by the Department of Agriculture, they had decided “that the responsible course of action” was to suspend all production at the Silvercrest plant “with immediate effect.”

They also said that the current stock would not be released and that staff at the now-closed plant would continue to be paid.

Imported ingredients

The president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Gabriel Gilmartin, expressed concern about the latest findings.

“It now looks increasingly like the problem is linked to imported raw materials,” he said.

We need answers on why there is any need for imported ingredients in burgers when Ireland is the biggest exporter of beef in the Northern hemisphere.

Gilmartin suggested that all meat processing plants should now ensure that they suspend the use of any imported material in meat products until this crisis is over.

Read: Dept: Food investigations ‘dealt with on case-by-case basis’ >

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Paul Hyland

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