FURTHER tests on beef burgers at a plant embroiled in the horse-meat scandal have come back clear.
Latest laboratory tests on burgers from Liffey Meats have shown that there was no presence of horse DNA in the product, which was manufactured between January 10 and January 16.
The Department of Agriculture welcomed the results and said it supported the company's claim that it had addressed concerns raised in findings from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last week.
More than one in three of the supermarket burgers that were sampled by the FSAI – or 10 from from a total of 27 – had traces of horse DNA.
The additional tests were ordered at two companies, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest, which had supplied the burgers.
A statement from the Department of Agriculture pointed out that the FSAI survey had found only very low trace levels of equine DNA in three of the Liffey Meats burger samples.
More tests will be needed at Silvercrest, it said, after further samples were also taken there. The preliminary results for Silvercrest were released last week and showed nine out of 13 burgers still tested positive for traces of horse DNA.
The statement from the department said: "Investigations are continuing at an intensive level in relation to identifying the source of the equine DNA in the Silvercrest processing facility.
"This work includes further analysis of a range of samples – both burgers and raw ingredients. In addition, detailed analysis of records held by the company relating to the sourcing of ingredients and the incorporation of these ingredients, is being conducted."
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he would announce further progress when the source of the equine DNA had been identified.