Burgers row: Tesco ends €15m Silvercrest deal after 'great breach of trust'

Tesco is to cease taking any products from frozen meat products supplier Silvercrest after what it calls a "great breach of trust" in the recent horsemeat controversy.

The value of the supermarket's contract with ABP Foods-owned Silvercrest is €15m. Tesco will continue to purchase fresh Irish beef worth more than €100m a year from other ABP companies.

Tesco said this morning that it appeared Silvercrest had used meat in the frozen burger products that did not come from a Tesco list of approved suppliers.

A statement from Tesco read: "We now understand - with as much certainty as possible – what happened. The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them.

"Consequently we have decided not to take products from Silvercrest in future. We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great."

Food Safety Authority tests discovered horse DNA in three Tesco frozen beefburger lines as well as in products in other supermarkets. One of the Tesco burgers was 29% horsemeat.

The beefburger products which tested positive for horse DNA were produced by two processing plants here (Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods) and one plant from the UK (Dalepak Hambleton).

A geling agent imported from Poland was found to be the source of the contamination. Tesco said it had instructed that meat should only come from Ireland and the UK.

Tesco promised refunds to customers who had bought the products, which it identified as Tesco Everyday Value 8 x Frozen Beef Burgers (397g), Tesco 4 x Frozen Beef Quarter Pounders (454g), and a branded product, Flamehouse Frozen Chargrilled Quarter Pounders.

As well as cancelling the supplier relationship with Silvercrest, Tesco is to introduce DNA testing across its meat products.

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