AN Irish company supplied burgers containing horse meat which were destined for hotels and restaurants in the Canary Islands, the authorities there have said.
The Canarian government's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said it had taken a tonne of frozen burgers out of circulation yesterday after traces of horse meat were found.
The meat, labelled as beef, had been supplied by a Valencia-based wholesaler that imported beef products from an Irish company which had already detected this problem in Europe, said Gustavo Matos, director general of trade and consumer affairs.
Around 7,000 burgers destined for the hospitality industry on the holiday islands have now been seized.
A spokesperson for Co Monaghan burger-maker Rangeland said the company did supply some burgers to Spain, but not in the quantities indicated and it could not confirm if it had supplied any of those affected. Last week, Rangeland was forced to withdraw thousands of burgers from Britain and Ireland found to contain horse meat.
ABP, which owns the Silvercrest plant that produced the supermarket burgers containing horse meat which kick-started the Europe-wide scandal, said it did not supply the burgers withdrawn from the Canary Islands. "The frozen burgers division of ABP Food Group does not have dealings with any wholesaler in Valencia," a spokesman said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that by carrying out tests for horse meat that were not standard practice in Europe, the Irish authorities uncovered a problem which might otherwise have gone undetected.
"While people assumed initially this was an Irish problem it's far from it," he said.
"It is now a pan-European investigation of food fraud involving a range of meat products and traders and food business operators," he said at a Copa-Cogeca meeting of European farm leaders and co-ops in Dublin last night.
Meanwhile, burgers containing horse meat have been discovered at three agricultural campuses in the North.
Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said that the burgers had been supplied to the Eurest outlets at Greenmount and Loughry campuses.
Eurest is a subsidiary of catering giant Compass, which recently withdrew burgers containing horse meat supplied by Rangeland.