Poland is the source of the controversial horsemeat used in burgers sold in British supermarkets, the Irish agriculture minister has said.

Silvercrest plant in County Monaghan supplied burgers to supermarkets like Tesco and Lidl.

Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture said "significant levels", or around 20 per cent of important raw material had horse DNA relative to beef.

In a statement, the department said: “The raw material from Poland is the source of equine DNA content in certain beef burgers."

Coveney said that tests on samples taken from Irish ingredients had come back negative, and said he was“pleased that the integrity of Irish food production was maintained.”

The company will commence a deep cleansing of the plant under new management and will submit to a six month period of direct scrutiny by government inspectors, after which it will be reviewed.

The Department will carry out weekly sampling of production in order to provide the necessary reassurance to its customers on the integrity of the production chain, including a commitment to source all its raw material from Ireland and the UK.

Aldi and Iceland have also sold beef products from Silvercrest found to contain horse DNA, and Burger King said it would stop using Silvercrest products, even though there was no horse DNA found in BK burgers.

Tesco said in a statement that the results confirmed its own investigations at the plant.