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Supermarket withdraws company's product as 'precaution'

Published 07/02/2013

ASDA has stopped selling frozen burgers produced by a Newry company found to be storing horse meat on its premises.

Freeza Meats Ltd had been supplying the supermarket giant with four types of burgers and although tests showed the range contained no horse meat, Asda has withdrawn the products from sale as a precautionary measure.

The Co Down company was storing frozen meat labelled as Polish beef which was subsequently found to be 80 per cent horse meat and which the Food Standards Agency said was potentially linked to a food processing plant in the Republic previously named in the wider scandal.

Co Monaghan firm McAdam Foods Services confirmed it owns the meat and said Freeza had been storing it "as a gesture of goodwill from one industry participant to another" but had not bought it.

A spokesman for McAdam Foods Services last night said it did not supply any meat processors in the north and has "no other produce in storage in Northern Ireland".

It has, however, supplied Silver-crest Foods and Rangleland Foods and both plants have been closed in recent weeks due to the presence of equine DNA in their food.

McAdam Foods Services said the meat stored in Freeza premises was of Polish origin and had been supplied by English company Flexi Foods Ltd which, according to its website, also has offices in the Polish city of Poznan.

The Freeza products withdrawn by Asda are Asda 4 100 per cent Beef Quarter Pounders, Asda 4 Beef Quarter Pounders, Asda 8 Beef Burgers and Asda 4 Big Eat Burgers.

"As a precaution we have withdrawn four frozen burger products produced by a company in Northern Ireland after a separate batch of meat in another part of their premises was found by the Food Standards Agency to contain horse DNA," the super-market said.

"We conducted our own DNA tests, along with environmental health officers, on the four burger products being produced by Freeza Meats for Asda and these have come back free of any trace of horsemeat.

"Although all the science says there's no trace of horse meat in the burgers produced for Asda, we can't and won't take any chances when it comes to the authenticity of ingredients in our products."

Tesco, meanwhile, has withdrawn packets of its Everyday value spaghetti bolognese following an alert by French supplier Comigel that some of its ingredients did "not conform" to the product specification.

The Republic's Department of Agriculture has asked gardai to investigate the latest disclosures and there have been calls for the PSNI to become involved.

A PSNI spokesman said yesterday that the force was not investigating the matter.