DUBLIN – Rangeland Foods in Castleblayney, County Monaghan, was shut down after a raw ground beef sample at the facility tested positive for 75 percent horse DNA, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Ireland. Rangeland specializes in frozen beef hamburgers for foodservice and fast food markets.

"Rangeland Foods notified the Department of its use of Polish meat ingredients in the manufacture of certain burger lines last Thursday (Jan. 31) evening due to the suspicion of the presence of equine DNA," according to a statement on the department's website. "The Department took samples of the material concerned from the plant to test for the presence of equine DNA and received results today. In this case the raw material was imported through a meat trader based in Ireland.”

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney planned to brief a parliamentary committee on the incident, according to news reports. Meanwhile, production at Rangeland Foods was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, the agency said. Inspectors from the department have been in the Rangeland facility since Feb. 1. The investigation is focused on the supply chain, including the meat trader and others who facilitated the purchase and transfer of the product in Ireland.

"The Department is in continuing contact with the Polish authorities as the investigation has shown that all implicated raw material ingredient is labeled as Polish product," the agency said. "Arising from today’s findings, added to the facts uncovered in the investigation at Silvercrest and enquiries north of the border, the Minister has ordered the involvement of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Department. He has also asked the Gardai (police) to join the investigation team."