Birds Eye suspends processor in horse meat scandal

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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LONDON – Birds Eye, the latest food manufacturer to become entangled in Europe's horse meat scandal, accused an Irish meat processor of supplying horse meat. The United Kingdom's Food Standards Authority found horse DNA in Birds Eye brand spaghetti Bolognese and beef lasagna. The company recalled the products on Feb. 22.

“Our investigation has shown that Frigilunch N.V. (who supplied these products to us) was itself supplied meat with horse in it by an Irish meat processor QK Meats,” Birds Eye said in a statement on its web site. Frigilunch N.V.’s own independent tests and investigation have confirmed our findings. We have reported these findings to the FSA and Frigilunch N.V. has taken immediate action and suspended them as a supplier of meat.

“All other meat suppliers to Frigilunch N.V. have been given the all clear through both Birds Eye’s and Frigilunch N.V.’s separate testing programs,” the company said. “You can rest assured that all other suppliers to Birds Eye have also been given the all clear.”

Birds Eye said the company has introduced a new DNA testing program in which minced beef must pass three stages of DNA testing before reaching store shelves. The company said all its suppliers have agreed to DNA test all products entering and leaving their facilities. Birds Eye will then conduct its own DNA tests before product is shipped to supermarkets.

“This means that next time you see any of our minced beef meat products on shelf/in the freezer they will have been through this triple lock testing process so you can be sure you are eating what is labeled on the pack,” the company said.

“We feel the same as our customers do — this should never have happened, but now that it has, it is up to us to make sure we do all we can to avoid it happening again. Aside from our triple lock DNA testing process we will be looking at what other changes we can make to our supply chain. We know that our customers expect us to maintain the highest standards and we will continue to look for new ways to do so. We will keep you informed as we progress this.”

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