LONDON – Waitrose announced plans to build its own plant to produce frozen meat products following its recall of frozen beef meatballs and beef hamburgers for testing.
The new plant is scheduled to open in the next three months, and it will be based out of facilities operated by Dovecote Park Ltd. in Yorkshire, England, the company said in a statement. Dovecote Park is a beef processor and sole beef supplier to Waitrose since 1997. Waitrose said all Dovecote Park beef is sourced from a "trusted group of British farmers — none of the beef is bought on the open market".
Waitrose recalled beef burgers and meatballs from its stores. Those items were not produced by Dovecote, according to the company.
"The frozen beef burgers were put back on sale after tests confirmed that the meat in the product was 100 percent beef," the company said. "More recently, one test on frozen meatballs showed that the meat in them was, as it should be, 100 percent beef. However, another test indicated there may be some pork in some of the meatballs and the product was therefore taken off sale.
"Neither frozen beef burgers nor frozen meatballs tested positive for horse meat," the company added.
Mark Price, managing director for Waitrose, said “Our customers rightly expect the highest standards of product quality and integrity from us, and we won’t let anything stand in the way of our delivering this.
“Dovecote Park is a dedicated supplier to Waitrose," Price said. "They share our values and our commitment to British farming so extending our joint activities into a range of frozen meat products is a tremendously positive move.”
Waitrose has 290 stores in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands.
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