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Burger King axes UK supplier in wake of horse meat scandal

Kieran Doherty / Reuters, file

Fast-food chain Burger King has dropped a supplier whose supermarket products were found to contain horse DNA. The restaurant company says its products were not affected.

LONDON — Burger King said on Thursday it had stopped using one of the firms caught up in the scandal of supplying British grocers with hamburger that contained horse meat.

The British food industry has been rocked by the revelation last week that retailers including market leader Tesco and smaller chains Aldi, Lidl and Iceland had sold beef products that contained horse meat.

Food safety experts say horse meat poses no added health risks to consumers, but the discovery has raised concerns about the food supply chain and the ability to trace meat ingredients.

On its website, Burger King said it had decided to replace all Silvercrest products in Britain and Ireland with products from another approved Burger King supplier.

"This is a voluntary and precautionary measure," Burger King said. "We are working diligently to identify suppliers that can produce 100 percent pure Irish and British beef products that meet our high quality standards."

The company said last week it was "confident" its beef supplies had not been affected because its patties are made on a dedicated production line and, unlike products implicated in the horse meat scandal, do not contain meat from continental Europe.

The burger products from the grocers, which were revealed last week to have tested positive for horse DNA, were produced by Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in Britain.

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, immediately withdrew from sale all products from its supplier, Silvercrest. The grocery chain said it was working with authorities and the supplier to urgently understand how horse meat came to be in the product.

ABP Food Group, which owns Silvercrest, said at the time that the source of the contamination was a beef-based product bought from two third-party suppliers outside of Ireland.

The discovery of horse meat could be both embarrassing and damaging for the retailers involved. The mass-selling Sun newspaper carried the Burger King announcement on its front page Thursday with the headline "Shergar King," in reference to a famous racehorse that was kidnapped and never seen again.


Hamburgers pulled from UK shelves after horse meat discovered

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