The processor was dumped by supermarkets Tesco, the Co-operative, Asda and Aldi, as well as fast food chain Burger King, after further testing on burgers produced at the plant revealed the presence of horse DNA.
Tesco said that it had evidence that the processor had supplied it with burgers containing meat that did not come from a list of approved suppliers, and had ignored its instruction to use only beef from the UK and Ireland in Tesco-branded products. “Consequently, we have decided not to take products from that supplier in future. We took that decision with regret, but the breach of trust is simply too great,” said Tesco group technical director Tim Smith.
Burger King also accused Silvercrest of violating its supply agreements by using meat from a non-approved supplier in Poland. “They promised to deliver 100% British & Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications and we have terminated our relationship with them,” said the company in a statement.
The Co-operative said it now “strongly” believed that the plant had supplied it with burgers that did not meet its specification for 100% British beef.
Meanwhile, Dalepak, the UK plant implicated in the scandal, was dropped by Aldi UK after tests revealed traces of horse DNA in three products supplied to the supermarket.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) revealed last month that tests on burgers sold in supermarkets in the UK and Ireland contained traces of horse DNA, with one burger supplied to Tesco containing 29% horse meat. Irish plants Silvercrest and Liffey Meats, and UK plant Dalepak, were named as suppliers. Subsequent investigations by the FSAI traced the contamination at Silvercrest back to a meat filler supplied by an as yet unnamed Polish company.
ABP - which owns both Silvercrest and Dalepak - has replaced the management team at Silvercrest, which remains closed, and implemented DNA testing and auditing of suppliers across its meat businesses.