Burger King concludes Silvercrest investigation

Following the conclusion of its investigation of the Silvercrest plant, Burger King has said the supplier committed "a clear violation of our specifications".



31 January 2013

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Burger King Worldwide today announced the conclusion of its investigation of Silvercrest Foods, and confirmed it has officially "terminated" its relationship with the supplier, following "a clear violation of specifications". 

The fast food chain said its independent DNA test results on product taken from Burger King restaurants proved negative for any horse DNA. However it found four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant revealed the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA.

While the company was keen to stress that this product was never sold to its restaurants, it nevertheless revealed that "within the last 36 hours," it had established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland.

Non-approved Polish supplier

"They promised to deliver 100% British & Irish beef patties and have not done so," Burger King Worldwide’s press release stated. "This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them. Through our investigation, we have confirmed that this non-approved Polish supplier is the same company identified by the Irish Department of Agriculture as the source of Silvercrest’s contamination issue."

As confirmed on 23 January, the group had already "transitioned" by replacing Silvercrest’s products in all of its restaurants in the UK, Ireland and Denmark with those from other Burger King approved suppliers in Germany and Italy as a precaution. These suppliers, whose burgers are currently on sale in the group’s restaurants, have provided DNA evidence to confirm their products are free of equine DNA.

Loss of major contracts

The contents of Burger King’s latest official statement will come as further bad news to the Co Monaghan plant which has also suffered the loss of major contracts from Tesco, Aldi and the Co-op, following the equine DNA revelations.

Despite assurances that Burger King’s products were not implicated when the horse DNA controversy first broke, the company said it "immediately launched our own internal investigation, which included scientific testing, inspection of the Silvercrest facility and scrutiny of traceability records."

Diego Beamonte, vice president, Global Quality, Burger King Corporation said: "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 apologise to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100% beef burgers. Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again."

"We will dedicate ourselves to determining what lessons can be learned and what additional measures, including DNA testing and enhanced traceability controls, can be taken to ensure that we continue to provide you with the quality products you expect from us."

ABP says it has ‘learnt important lessons’

Following Tesco’s announcement that it was ending its partnership with Silvercrest earlier this week, the ABP Food Group said it, "has developed a very strong business – based on trust. We have let our customers down in this incident and we apologise for this."

Paul Finnerty, ABP Food Group CEO stated: "We have learnt important lessons from this incident and we are determined to ensure that this never happens again.

"We have already implemented total management change at the Silvercrest facility – which remains closed. We also have effected a group re-organisation to better manage our convenience foods business. We have put in place new procedures to audit all our third party suppliers. We have also established comprehensive DNA testing procedures – we will become an industry leader in this area.

"We are proud of our excellent reputation for quality and service throughout Europe and are determined not to allow the Silvercrest incident overshadow what is a great business." 



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