Burger King dropped-supplier investigation confirms horse meat presence

Feb. 1, 2013

Burger King announced that its investigation of former supplier Silvercrest Foods has been concluded. The company dropped the supplier earlier this month after it was notified that the supplier was under investigation for "potential contamination" of some products. Specifically, the supplier had been accused of using non-approved horse meat.

When the investigation was announced, Silvercrest Foods was approved to supply 100-percent Irish and British beef patties for Burger King restaurants in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark.

According to a statement from Burger King: "Despite assurances from them that our products were not implicated, we immediately launched our own internal investigation, which included scientific testing, inspection of the Silvercrest facility and scrutiny of traceability records."

In the interim, Burger King transitioned its restaurants in those markets to other approved suppliers from Germany and Italy as a precaution. The backup suppliers had provided DNA evidence to confirm their products were equine-meat-free. These suppliers continue to provide the products being sold in Burger King restaurants today.

Results from the investigation

Burger King's independent DNA tests results on product taken from restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. This product was never sold to Burger King restaurants, according to a company statement, which continues:

"Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100-percent British & Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them. Through our investigation, we have confirmed that this non-approved Polish supplier is the same company identified by the Irish Department of Agriculture as the source of Silvercrest's contamination issue."

Diego Beamonte, vice president, Global Quality, Burger King Corporation, said, "While the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has stated that this is not a food safety issue, we are deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation and apologize to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100-percent beef burgers. Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again."

Beamonte added that the company will dedicate resources to taking additional measures moving forward, including DNA testing and enhanced traceability controls.

Read more about supply chain news.

Topics: Equipment & Supplies , Food Safety , International

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