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Friday 19 September 2014

Polish inspectors found 'green' meat at Irish processing plant

Joyce Fegan and Emma Jane Hade

Published 25/02/2014 | 02:30

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31/01/2013. Silvercrest Foods. The Silvercrest Foods factory in the town of Ballybay, Co Monaghan. There are increasing fears that there may be job losses at the plant which employs 112 people. Tesco, Aldi and the 'Co-op' have dropped the company as a supplier following horse DNA found in frozen burgers produced at the plant. This follows on from the fast food chain Burger King dropping it as a supplier. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Irelamd
The Silvercrest Foods factory in the town of Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

DISCOLOURED "green" meat was found in an Irish processing plant, according to a damning Polish report into the horsemeat scandal.

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However, both the company and the Department of Agriculture last night insisted that the meat was never going to enter the food chain.

Polish authorities began working with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland last January after it was discovered that horsemeat was found in frozen burgers here.

A report by Poland's chief veterinary officer states that "green colour, dry and old" meat was discovered at the ABP-owned Silvercrest plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, during an inspection in February 2013.

"The condition of the blocks showed their having been thawed and refrozen," states the report, which was made available to the Irish Government before Christmas.

But last night the Department of Agriculture and ABP both said there was never any question that meat unfit for human consumption was going to enter the food supply chain.

ABP added that it "does not accept" the report's claims. It said: "The report fails to adequately address the significant body of evidence that suggests that Poland was the source of at least some of the meat illegally contaminated with horse."

QUARANTINE

The company, which provides food to Tesco and Aldi, said the meat was discoloured because it had been in a fridge under quarantine for three weeks.

It said the meat had gone off while being moved and unpacked for testing. It said that photographs and analysis of the meat was done "over three weeks after its removal from the supply chain".

Meanwhile, the Polish report concluded by distancing Polish suppliers from the horse meat scandal in Ireland.

It said there were a "number of doubts which do not allow to determine clearly participation of Polish companies in potential adulteration of beef with horse meat. There is no concrete evidence that beef was replaced with horse meat in Polish plants."

It continued that "many agents are involved in this ill-practice".

The Irish food industry was first plunged into controversy last year when it emerged that traces of horse meat had been found in meat products produced in this country. Foods advertised as beef had tested positive as containing traces of horse meat.

Foods produced at Larry Goodman's ABP Silvercrest plant were caught up in the scandal. Frozen beef burgers supplied to leading supermarket chain Tesco had been found to contain at least 29pc of horse DNA.

Irish Independent

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