An abattoir in Huish Episcopi is among those introducing DNA testing of meat products in the wake of a nationwide horse meat scandal.
ABP Langport, formerly Romford Wholesale Meats, is owned by ABP Food Group – one of the companies embroiled in an international controversy after products labelled as beef were found to contain horse meat.
The new testing regime is being introduced after the Food Standards Agency of Ireland (FSAI) found horse DNA in beefburgers supplied by ABP subsidiaries Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak Hambleton.
ABP’s Huish Episcopi plant, off Muchelney Road, is not known to be connected to these brands, although they share a parent company.
ABP has confirmed new testing regimes, including DNA testing, would be implemented across the whole group.
A company statement issued when the FSAI results came to light last month said: “ABP Food Group companies have never knowingly bought, handled or supplied equine meat products and we acknowledge the understandable concern created as a result of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s DNA frozen beefburger test results.
“This issue only affects frozen beef burgers supplied by Silvercrest Foods and Dalepak Hambleton, and while there is no food safety issue, a full withdrawal was implemented.
“Our group companies only buy meat from licensed and approved EU suppliers.
“These results relate only to where beef-based products have been sourced by those suppliers from the Continent.
“Only a small percentage of meat is currently procured from outside of the UK and Ireland. Fresh meat products are unaffected.
“It is vital that the integrity of the supply chain is assured and we are committed to restoring consumer confidence.”
Last week the Food Standards Agency (FSA) demanded food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products and provide the results to the agency. An FSA statement said the tests will be for “the presence of significant levels of horse meat,” and demanded results by tomorrow.
Somerton and Frome MP and Farming Minister David Heath said this week: “I am glad retailers and caterers are co-operating and taking action to test products and reassure their customers.”