Products from the Netherlands and Spain would appear to be the source of the ‘horse meat in burgers’ scandal which has hit the UK and Ireland, according to Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney.
Irish food standard bodies have found horse and pig DNA in a large number of supermarket beef burgers and meat company Silvercrest has now launched an investigation into the contamination.
‘Silvercrest has never purchased or traded in equine product and has launched a full-scale investigation into two continental European third party suppliers who are the suspected source of the product in question,’ the Daily Mail quoted the company as saying.
Silvercrest expects it will take two or three days to ‘get to the bottom’ of the contamination. It is not clear which Dutch company is involved.
Horse steaks used to be a popular meat in the Netherlands but are now much less widely eaten. Instead, horse is used to bulk out more expensive meat in snack products.
Checks on popular Dutch snacks such as bitterballen carried out by Wageningen University in 2007 found horse meat was included in 32% of them. And in 2008, a television consumers programme found horse was still used by many producers of frikandellen.
The Netherlands is also a major processor of horse meat imported from abroad, largely from South America.
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