- (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
Burger King has dropped an Irish meat supplier found responsible for the discovery of horse meat in beef patties that were being sold on supermarket shelves.
The fast food chain has stated that it is taking "precautionary measures" by dropping Silvercrest as a meat supplier. Silvercrest is Ireland's second largest manufacturer of supermarket beef. Last week test results from a study conducted by the Irish Food Safety Authority in November and December, revealed that some beef patties contained horse DNA.
"This is a voluntary and precautionary measure," Burger King said on its website. "We are working diligently to identify suppliers that can produce 100 percent pure Irish and British beef products that meet our high quality standards."
After the test results were announced last week, Silvercrest responded by immediately shutting down production until results from an investigation could be processed. Over 10 million beef burgers sent to supermarkets in Ireland and Britain were recalled as a result.
The beef industry accounts for 21 percent of Ireland's food and drink exports- a $2.6 billion industry according to Reuters- raising concerns about what will happen if companies like Burger King leave the country. The chain, however, has suggested its intention to find another meat supplier within Ireland.
"Burger King has said they're looking at other Irish sources to try and source and replace this," John Bryan, president of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) told Ireland's state broadcaster, RTE, on Thursday.
"Several of them would have the capacity to take up an 8,000 ton burger contract and there would be plenty of availability of meat to fill this contract," he said.
Beef is nearly three times the cost of horse meat in Europe. Officials have confirmed that horse meat does not pose a risk to public health, although the higher issue of production standard has been raised.