Liffey Meats apologises to customers over traces
LIFFEY Meats has apologised to customers after traces of horse DNA were found in a number of its products.
The company's website boasts that it has built up a "formidable supplier base from quality-assured farms which guarantee complete traceability and excellent beef".
But the Food Safety Authority's survey found that three of its products had been contaminated by horse DNA.
The family-owned firm, with a more than 100-year history, is run by father and son Frank Mallon Snr and Jnr.
The father (pictured) lives with his wife Carol – another director of the company – in Balrath, Co Meath, on a sizeable estate of more than 500 acres.
Their son, aged 40, owns a large house in nearby Navan.
The company is based in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan and has plants in Galway and Carlow. It employs more than 300 people.
Liffey Meats exports to Europe and Africa, with former Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan lauding a €5m beef deal with the French supermarket chain Intermarche in 2005.
But in 1999 the company admitted committing tax fraud in order to avoid paying PAYE and PRSI.
Liffey Meats paid the Revenue Commissioners IR£1.4m (€1.77m) to settle the unpaid tax bill, including IR£500,000 (€635,000) in penalties and fines.
In 1996 Frank Mallon Snr pleaded guilty to 25 charges relating to the use of illegal growth promoters in cattle and was fined IR£25,000 (€31,750).
Last night the company withdrew products identified by the authority and said: "We sincerely regret that any product produced by the company would not conform to the highest specifications."