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Burger King says it never sold horse meat despite supplier issues

February 01, 2013|By W.J. Hennigan
  • Pedestrians pass by a branch of Burger King in central London.
Pedestrians pass by a branch of Burger King in central London. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated…)

After one of its suppliers was under investigation for selling beef products potentially tainted with horse meat, Burger King concluded that none of its products were affected.

The chain said it came to the conclusion after conducting testing for traces of equine DNA in its beef patties.

Burger King, which is based in Miami, said it launched an independent and ongoing probe upon learning that Irish regulators had discovered equine DNA in meat in one of its suppliers' facilities.

On Jan. 24, the chain said it would no longer use products from ABP Food Group’s Irish subsidiary, Silvercrest, to supply its locations in Britain and Ireland. The fast food giant then replaced all Silvercrest meat with deliveries from another supplier as a “voluntary and precautionary measure,” it said.

At that time, Silvercrest was approved to supply all Irish and British beef patties for Burger King restaurants in Britain, Ireland and Denmark. As a result, some Burger King menu items were “temporarily unavailable,” the chain said, apologizing to its patrons for the inconvenience.

"While the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has stated that this is not a food safety issue, we are deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation and apologize to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100% beef burgers,” Diego Beamonte, Burger King’s global quality vice president said in a statement.  “Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again."

Several other major food retailers reportedly bought meat from Silvercrest.

Earlier this month, supermarket behemoth Tesco apologized to customers after learning that some of its beef products may have been contaminated with horse meat. The chain said it withdrew the items from sale and offered a full refund.

Around the same time, Silvercrest also apologized in a statement for “the understandable concern this issue has caused.”

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