BEEF magnate Larry Goodman has weighed into the horse meat scandal by saying his processing company is not to blame.
The wealthy businessman, who has not spoken to the media for almost 25 years, broke his silence to question the validity of the DNA testing that found traces of horse and pig DNA in his beef burgers.
Speaking to the ' Financial Times', Mr Goodman, pictured, said that while there was pressure to keep costs down, his company did not use inferior ingredients.
He also stressed there were no health problems associated with eating horse meat, but could see why people were concerned.
"People are psychologically concerned about the sort of animal they are eating and rightly so. Kids see them (horses) as pets," he said.
Referring to the testing, Mr Goodman said he would not be surprised at the findings of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. "We are talking about DNA testing and DNA will pick up molecules and something in the air.
"I would not be surprised if there was contamination of various species if one were to do DNA testing."
Mr Goodman's ABP Food Group owns Silvercrest, the meat-processing plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, which was one of those found to have supplied supermarkets with contaminated beef burgers.
The scandal has made news around the world and Mr Goodman criticised some of the coverage, saying he was "disgusted with some of the things that I see".
Meanwhile, Bord Bia will this weekend carry out research to see how damage to the export industry can be limited, as the fallout from the scandal continues.
The revelations of equine DNA in Irish beef burgers generated 3,000 online news stories worldwide.
Officials are waiting for the results of further tests in Germany to establish whether burgers tested this week contained high levels of horse meat or trace amounts.
Bord Bia said that, so far, there had been little or no trade damage outside Ireland and Britain, with coverage in conventional print and broadcast media relatively limited in other countries.
"Online reporting is more prevalent yet it would appear not at a level sufficient to attract the attention of or create concern among buyers," Bord Bia said. It has commissioned research in Ireland and the UK this weekend to assess consumer reaction to the scandal and to provide guidance for any necessary responses.