Safety board slams ‘unaccredited’ burger test claim

The Food Safety Authority (FSAI) last night hit back at the CEO of supermarket chain Iceland, after claims that the watchdog used “unaccredited” DNA testing procedures in its detection of horsemeat.

Safety board slams ‘unaccredited’ burger test claim

Iceland chief Malcolm Walker had claimed that the FSAI’s testing methods were “not accredited” after 0.1% horse DNA was found in two iceland burgers.

The store later conducted its own tests and found no evidence of horse DNA, and said its reputation had been damaged.

But in a statement last night, the FSAI said “attempts to cast doubt on the veracity and robustness of the DNA testing carried on its behalf by a number of laboratories is disingenuous, dishonest, and untruthful”.

It said the two internationally recognised labs — Identigen in Dublin and Eurofins Laboratories in Germany — were competent to carry out the testing and the test method used by Eurofins was accredited to European standard.

As for Identigen it said “the lack of current accreditation for its test method does not invalidate its test findings on the FSAI’s samples”.

The row came as the horsemeat scandal uncovered in Ireland and Britain spread to other European countries with tests revealing that tainted beef has made it into supermarkets in 13 EU states.

Europol is leading a Europe- wide fraud probe. Three men have been arrested in England and Wales. They come as French authorities said meat wholesaler Spanghero re-labelled and sold horsemeat from Romanian suppliers. The company denies any wrongdoing.

In Berlin, consumer safety experts are now checking all meat products. “We haven’t found anything yet, but the research here just started, so I can’t promise that we won’t find anything later,” said Thomas Heilmann of Germany’s Office of Consumer Protection.

Irish firm Greencore has re-opened its production facilities in Bristol, saying all results for products tested for equine DNA there have come up negative.

This followed concerns by the supermarket chain Asda that tests carried out on the beef bolognese sauce supplied by Greencore had shown trace levels of horse DNA.

Greencore said a deep-clean shutdown was carried out over the weekend at the Bristol facility where the sauce was made.

A spokeswoman for Greencore said it believed the contaminated meat in the sauce had come from a plant in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, owned by ABP Food Group.

However, ABP denied this, saying it had carried out a traceability test on the consignment of beef that was used in the batch sent to the Greencore Group.

Earlier, Edwin Poots, the North’s health minister, said that contaminated produce from Rangeland Foods in the Republic was sent to hospitals in the North, and it would require firm guarantees before they would accept more products from the company.

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