WHAT'S the problem with horse meat?
The scandal was sparked when the Food Safety Authority revealed on January 14 that its tests revealed frozen supermarket burgers contained horse DNA, mostly in trace amounts but with a Tesco burger containing 29pc horse meat.
Why does that matter?
There's no food safety risk with horse meat – but a beef burger, it's supposed to be made out of beef. So as well as the "yuck" factor, it raised questions about what's going into our food and the traceability controls.
What happened in the beef industry?
The Larry Goodman-owned Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan, where the Tesco burger was made, suspended production.
The Department of Agriculture launched a massive investigation to DNA-test burgers in a bid to find out who the guilty party was.
After 11 days, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney announced that Polish beef trimmings appeared to be the culprit as this was the only ingredient testing positive for horse DNA. He announced that the Irish investigation was winding down as it was over to the Polish to investigate.
What happened next?
Within days, Tesco and Burger King announced they were ditching €45m contracts with Silvercrest for good despite its attempt to start afresh with a brand new management team.
Aldi and the Co-Op also ditched Silvercrest.
Was that it?
Not a chance. The story burst back into life this week when it turned out an ingredient at a second Co Monaghan burger factory, Rangeland Foods, contained 75pc horse meat. This meat did not enter production.
And it turned out the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland had been investigating consignments of "beef" destined for Irish burgers which were 80pc horse.
The Garda Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been called in and all attention now is on finding just where the problem originated.
The Polish authorities say their tests have not found any horse DNA and investigators here are probing whether it could have been added somewhere en route to Irish factories.
What's the likely impact for consumers?
The net impact of this scandal will hopefully be a much cleaner food chain – though it will come at a price.
Tesco is leading the charge to introduce DNA testing across its products, while the ABP chain has also vowed to become a market leader in genetic testing. Other supermarkets and processors will be following suit.
But with Tesco alone expected to spend a couple of million on a new testing regime, the days of ultra-cheap burgers are numbered, as ultimately the customer always pays.