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Statement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine as Investigation into Equine DNA in Burgers Continues

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD announced this evening his Department has received a test result confirming 75% equine DNA in a raw material ingredient at Rangeland Foods, Co Monaghan. The Department has been conducting further enquiries to establish whether Polish labelled product has been used in other meat processing plants in Ireland following the results at Silvercrest. These enquiries remain ongoing.

Rangeland Foods notified the Department of its use of Polish meat ingredients in the manufacture of certain burger lines last Thursday evening due to the suspicion of the presence of equine DNA. The Department took samples of the material concerned from the plant to test for the presence of equine DNA and received results today. In this case the raw material was imported through a meat trader based in Ireland.

Production has been suspended at Rangeland Foods pending the outcome of the investigation. The company has indicated that none of this product has entered the food chain. The Department has had inspectors in the plant since last Friday. The investigation is focusing on the full supply chain including the meat trader concerned and others who facilitated the purchase of the product and its transfer to users in Ireland.

The Department is in continuing contact with the Polish authorities as the investigation has shown that all implicated raw material ingredient is labelled as Polish product. Arising from today’s findings, added to the facts uncovered in the investigation at Silvercrest and enquiries north of the border, the Minister has ordered the involvement of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Department. He has also asked the Gardai to join the investigation team.

Date Released: 05 February 2013