APB supplied meat to Greencore for sauce that had horse DNA

Larry Goodman’s ABP Food Group was at the heart of yet more horsemeat controversy last night as it emerged its meat was contained in bolognese sauce which has been withdrawn by British retailer Asda.

The supermarket giant withdrew the Chosen By You 350g Beef Bolognese Sauce after tests revealed the presence of horse DNA.

The product had been supplied by Irish food group giant Greencore, which manufactures many own-brand products on behalf of supermarkets. Greencore’s chief executive is Patrick Coveney, brother of Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney. Patrick Coveney last year earned over €1.7m as boss of the company.

Asda said it was also withdrawing three other products as a precaution: Two soups and a pasta sauce. None have been found to contain equine DNA.

Last night, Greencore confirmed it supplied the bolognese sauce. It said the sauce contained meat supplied to Greencore under contract by ABP Food Group’s Nenagh plant in Tipperary, “an approved and regularly audited supplier”. ABP’s Silvercrest plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan was at the centre controversy last month.

“The company is working closely with them to determine the full facts as we await the results of the further tests,” said Greencore. “The company is participating in full with the intensive industry testing programme to examine the full supply chain in order to restore consumer confidence.”

Sainsbury’s and the Co-op in Britain confirmed they were also supplied by Greencore. Sainsbury’s said it was carrying out tests for the presence of horse DNA but added that Greencore used a different beef supplier for its products.

Meanwhile, UK authorities say a significant amount of horsemeat containing the painkiller bute could have been entering the food chain for some time.

Authorities in Britain and France are trying to trace the carcasses of six horses contaminated with phenyl-butazone, or “bute”, which were slaughtered in a British abattoir and may have entered the human food chain in Europe.

The drug, which is potentially harmful to human health, was detected in eight horses out of 206 tested by the FSA in the first week of this month. Two were intercepted and destroyed before leaving the slaughterhouse but the other six were sent to France, where horse meat is commonly eaten.

Of 63 tested, amounting to 5% of all carcasses, four (6%) tested positive for the painkiller, prompting the FSA to start testing 100% of horse meat in January, which revealed the eight contaminated carcasses.

The British chief medical officer Sally Davies said that although the drug was linked to side-effects in patients who have been taking it as a medicine for arthritis, the risk was very low.

In Wales, Dafydd Raw-Rees, 64, the owner of Farmbox Meats processing plant near Aberystwyth, was arrested on suspicion of offences under the fraud act. A 63-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of the same offence at Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Aintree link

- The owner of an abattoir caught up in the horsemeat scandal is contracted to remove fatally injured horses from the Aintree Grand National.

Peter Boddy, whose slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire was raided by the UK Food Standards Agency on Tuesday, removes the carcasses of some horses which have been put down during the world famous meeting.

The Liverpool racecourse said it was “confident” no unfit meat had entered the food chain.

A spokesman for Aintree said: “The racing industry takes every possible course of action to ensure that horses, fatally injured on a racecourse, cannot enter the food chain.

“Pro-active and considered measures are in place to prevent this.

“Aintree Racecourse follow these guidelines to the letter and can confirm that Peter Boddy, who has been mentioned in newspaper reports, is contracted by Aintree to remove carcasses if required.

“By the time these carcasses are returned to the disposal organisation’s premises they are totally unsuitable for consumption.

“They are fully signed off as unsuitable.

— Mike Hornby

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