Catering firm Sodexo, which supplies the Armed Forces and Ascot Racecourse, has withdrawn all frozen beef products from 2,300 outlets in the UK with immediate effect after horsemeat was found during tests of its products.
A processing plant in Ireland has been shut down after inspectors found it was exporting horse meat under a label in the Czech language which translated as beef.
B&F Meats, a small-scale deboning factory in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was selling mislabelled product to a customer in the Czech Republic through a trader based in the UK.
I am seriously concerned about this development and the gardai have been fully appraised of this development and are working closely with my department. The issue here is one of mislabelling and that will be the focus of the investigation.
– Simon Coveney, Agriculture Minister
Officers from the Department of Agriculture's special investigations unit have been carrying out searches at the factory this afternoon.The department said B&F Meats had been approved to debone beef and horse meat.Mr Coveney described the factory as a "small scale" operation.
The Government must ensure that catering firms speed up their tests and tell the public what they are testing, so that we know just how far this horse meat scandal has spread through our communities. It is deeply worrying that it has taken Sodexo, who supply schools, hospitals and the Armed Forces, several weeks to test for and discover horse in its beef products.
Councils, schools and hospitals must have total confidence in their meat suppliers – and the Government’s advice that they should simply ask big catering companies for reassurance is totally ineffective.
– Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary
Catering company Sodexo have withdrawn all frozen beef products from 2,300 outlets with immediate effect after Food Standards Agency horsemeat test results.
To reassure our customers, Sodexo has decided to withdraw all frozen beef products from its UK catering operations with immediate effect.
Sodexo has had a pro-active programme in place to ensure that there is no horse meat in its supply chain.
We demanded written assurances from across our supply chain that the products we purchase did not contain horse meat, and additionally implemented an internal sampling programme.
Despite repeated guarantees from our suppliers, our sampling has identified a frozen beef product which tested positive for equine DNA.
This situation is totally unacceptable.
We felt the only appropriate response was to withdraw not only this product but all frozen beef products. We will only re-admit into our catering operations products that have affirmatively passed DNA testing, pursuant to laboratory test criteria.
We have notified the FSA of our findings and will assist fully in its investigation. We have also launched our own investigation to understand how this regrettable situation arose.
Food safety, traceability and quality remain the top priority for Sodexo and this is why we have taken these steps.Sodexo’s Tillery Valley Foods business which provides meals to the healthcare sector is not affected by the above.