Horse meat scandal

Another firm in our region has been drawn into the horse meat scandal. Paragon Quality Foods, in Doncaster is now testing all its products after a burger it sold to hotel and pub giant Whitbread was find to contain horse DNA.

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Video: Horse meat scandal widens

The owner of a beefburger factory in Doncaster has told Calendar of his shock after the firm became the latest in the region to be drawn into the horse meat scandal.

Paragon Quality Foods says it can't explain the presence of horse DNA in a burger it supplied to the hotel and pub chain Whitbread, but says it's now testing its products every day in a laboratory to make sure they've got the all clear. Jon Hill reports.

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Statement from Paragon Quality Foods

Paragon Quality foods have released a statement after it was found some of the

beefburgers they supplied to a chain of hotels have been found to contain horse meat. It reads as follows:

  • "Paragon Quality foods only buys beef from licensed and approved EU suppliers.
  • Since the outbreak of the “horse meat scandal” in the European supply chain, we have carried out extensive testing for equine in our burgers all of which were clear to date, with the exception one product, which is still being investigated.
  • Independently a number of our customers in the UK and Europe have also tested our products and to date all results were clear.
  • Paragon have never knowingly bought or handled equine meat products. All our records are available for scrutiny to our customers and FSA officials."

This is a supply chain problem across Europe due to the adulteration of raw material by criminal elements. As a key beef burger manufacturer the integrity of our product is paramount. We have therefore decided to implement an industry leading system of positive release of all products as from Monday 18th February 2013.

– Spokesman, Paragon Quality Foods Ltd

Horse meat found in South Yorkshire burgers

Doncaster food manufacturing company Paragon Quality Foods Ltd have confirmed that some beefburgers they supplied to a chain of hotels have been found to contain horsemeat.

The company says stressed it has only ever bought meat from reputable suppliers.

“Paragon supplies Whitbread with three beefburgers, and we are advised that equine test results were clear for two of these products and positive for one.

The product in question was first produced by us on January 18, 2013.

We are conducting our own tests on the retained sample of this batch as part of our ongoing investigations.

Paragon have never knowingly bought or handled equine meat products. All our records are available for scrutiny to our customers and FSA officials.”

– Spokesman, Paragon Quality Foods Ltd

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Number of people who have eaten horse meat unknown

It is unlikely the exact number of people in the UK who have unwittingly eaten

horse meat will ever be known, the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency

(FSA) has conceded.

Catherine Brown said that testing was the right way to address the issue, and

said the focus would be on areas of higher risk.

But she admitted that how many people who had unknowingly eaten horse meat was

likely to be impossible to ascertain.

Three arrested over horse meat scandal released

Three men arrested on suspicion of fraud offences in relation to the horse meat scandal have been released on bail, as officials continue to examine evidence from three more plants. The men including a 63-year-old from West Yorkshire were arrested on February 14th.

They were released pending further inquires and will return to answer bail in Aberystwyth at a later date, Dyfed-Powys police said.

Asda test negative for horse meat

Supermarket giant Asda's statement:

"To date we have carried out 196 tests on Asda brand processed beef products, and have submitted all of these results to the BRC as requested."None of the Asda products tested positive for the presence of horsemeat against the Food Standards Agency’s threshold.

"This testing is being conducted on behalf of Asda by independent, externally accredited laboratories and is ongoing."We’re also increasing the number of independent unannounced audits weconduct across our entire meat supply chain.

"We will continue to do the right thing and take appropriate action where necessary to make sure our customers can be confident in the food they are eating"

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