Horse Meat In Burgers 'Came From Poland' Says Irish Food Standards Agency

Not only did we find out how prevalent the Polish language was in Britain on Wednesday, but also how widespread their horses (or bits of them) are too.

Irish authorities are sure that "filler product" found in contaminated burgers sold in supermarkets came from Poland and was a mixture of beef and horse offcuts, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.

The contaminated meat was in the form of blocks of frozen product from a Polish supplier that had been used for a year, FSA chief executive Catherine Brown told the Commons Environment Committee.

Tesco has dropped Silvercrest as its frozen burger supplier following what it termed a "breach of trust"

Investigations are going on into how long contaminated meat might have been in use, Ms Brown told MPs.

Asked how UK consumers could know if horse meat had not been in burgers "for months, if not years", Ms Brown replied: "We haven't (in the past) identified horsemeat in burgers as a likely significant risk in this country, and therefore it is possible... and that's why I'm saying that it's very important now that we get to the bottom of the Polish connection and the Irish investigation because it is possible that these burgers have been on sale in this country.

"The probable limit of possibility... is a year because it's been a year that this supplier has been supplying. And therefore when the Polish get to the bottom of this we will hope to know whether it's likely that this has been going on for a year."

Asked if the burgers posed a health risk, she replied: "There is no evidence at the moment that there has been any unsafe food produced.

Contaminated burgers were sold in Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl

"Clearly what we all rely on in terms of a safe food to eat is a fully functioning system of controls and a set of audits which check to all of our satisfaction that that robust set of controls are being consistently applied. So where you find a case where they haven't, it raises your general level of anxiety about the wider system.

"But, as I say, the tests that the Irish did indicate that there's nothing to be concerned about."

Earlier, Tesco said it had dropped frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, following what it termed a "breach of trust".

In a statement released on Wednesday the supermarket chain said the meat was not from the UK or Ireland either, "despite our instruction that only beef from the UK and Ireland should be used in our frozen beef burgers."

It has vowed to introduce a DNA testing system on meat products to "ensure the quality" of the food on its shelves in the wake of the scandal.

It said: "We now understand - with as much certainty as possible - what happened.

"The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them.

"Nor was the meat from the UK or Ireland, despite our instruction that only beef from the UK and Ireland should be used in our frozen beefburgers.

"Consequently we have decided not to take products from that supplier in future. We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great."