Waitrose ditches burgers linked to Irish firm
UPMARKET British supermarket chain Waitrose became the latest retailer to remove boxes of frozen beefburgers linked to an Irish company from its shelves as a result of the horse meat scare.
And farmers here reported some factories trying to push down prices for beef in the wake of the scandal.
Waitrose said yesterday it had taken frozen burgers made by Dalepak Hambleton, one of Larry Goodman's ABP plants at the centre of the scare, off sale "as a precaution" when it had its British Retail Consortium accreditation suspended as a result of the food scare.
Over 10 million burgers have been taken off supermarket shelves across Ireland and the UK, after a Food Safety Authority of Ireland probe found traces of horse meat in burgers sold by Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland.
In a statement, Waitrose said its burgers had since been tested and were found to be 100pc beef. "The ingredients in our burgers are simple with all meat traceable back to British farms that we know," they said.
"Our technical team visited the Dalepak site last week and were happy that our products were produced to our high specification and separately from other companies' products."
However the British Retail Consortium – which awards special accreditation to companies which meet high food safety criteria – said it had temporarily suspended this from the Dalepak plant last week while it sought further information.
"This was taken as a precautionary measure while the site was audited to ensure that it had maintained full compliance with the requirements of the standard," a spokesman said.
Dalepak's certification had been reinstated on Thursday when compliance with food safety standards was confirmed.
Waitrose said it was aware that certification had been reinstated but its withdrawal of burgers produced by the plant remained ongoing last night. They account for 6pc of the frozen burgers sold by the company.
ABP Food Group declined to comment on Waitrose's decision to withdraw burgers produced at the Dalepak plant or on whether production was continuing there. It said it was focussing on its investigation into the source of horse meat contamination. Tesco in Britain meanwhile apologised and launched an urgent investigation into why one of its stores was still selling burgers which were meant to have been withdrawn last week following the horse meat scare.
This came after a BBC reporter managed to buy a packet of Tesco frozen quarter pounders which were supposed to have been withdrawn as a precaution.
Meanwhile farmers in Ireland complained that factories were using the horse meat scandal as an excuse to push down beef. prices.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association said members were being quoted prices 10c per kilo lower than last week for bulls and heifers.