Feb 5 2013
Ireland's agriculture minister Simon Coveney is to brief a parliamentary committee there on the horse meat controversy after a second processing plant tested positive for equine DNA.
Police have been called in to assist investigations into the deepening scandal after Rangeland Foods in Co Monaghan was shut down. A sample at the factory tested positive with a reading of 75% horse DNA in a raw ingredient.
The minister will join Professor Alan Reilly, whose research at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) first exposed the contamination of processed beef burgers in Irish made products.
The ABP Food Group, owned by Larry Goodman, has lost contracts worth an estimated 45 million euro (£38 million) with Tesco, Aldi, the Co-Operative Group and Burger King over the fiasco.
The source of the equine DNA, in another case as high as 29% in a burger, has been traced to a factory in Poland. ABP's plant, Silvercrest, also in Co Monaghan, was found to have been supplying contaminated products.
Mr Coveney will brief politicians on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Dublin later. A special investigation unit from the department has been tasked to get to the bottom of the controversy, with support from gardai.
In a statement the Department of Agriculture said production had been suspended at Rangeland, a frozen burger supplier established in 1892 with a turnover of 18m euro (£15 million) and about 80 staff. "The company has indicated that none of this product has entered the food chain," the department said.
Inquiries into whether Polish labelled product has been used in other meat processing plants in Ireland are ongoing. Rangeland called in authorities last Thursday amid suspicions that Polish sourced meat may contain horse.
Committee chairman Andrew Doyle said: "Our committee has followed this story with deep concern. Ireland's enviable reputation in producing green, clean and traceable food, so critical to the prosperity of our 10 billion euro (£8.5 billion) agri-food industry, risks being undermined when issues like this arise."
The committee will decide on Wednesday whether ABP should be called in to explain its part in the saga.