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Laboratory Test Results Announced

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD this evening announced preliminary laboratory results that indicate the presence of equine DNA in samples of burgers taken by the Department on Tuesday 15th January, from product manufactured in one plant (Silvercrest) in the period 3rd to 14th January. These products were already withdrawn by the company from the market.  Samples of raw ingredients were also tested.

Seven samples of raw ingredients were tested, one of which, sourced from another Member State, tested positive. All ingredients in the production of burgers sourced from Irish suppliers tested negative for equine DNA. Thirteen samples of finished burgers were tested for the presence of equine DNA. Nine have tested positive for traces of equine DNA and another four have tested negative. 

The Department informed Silvercrest of these further laboratory test results this evening and the company has indicated its intention to temporarily suspend all production at the plant with immediate effect until it completes its investigation. It has confirmed that this week’s production has not been released from the plant. The Minister has welcomed this decision by the company.

The Minister said that these results were received this evening and were fully assessed jointly by Department officials and the FSAI. The Minister and the FSAI have arranged to have these positive samples further analysed in Germany with a view to quantifying the percentage of equine DNA present.

The Department is continuing its examination of all raw ingredients used in the production of the affected products and this, together with the further laboratory tests being conducted in Germany should give greater clarity to the source of the original problem. The Minister and the FSAI have repeated their clear statement that there is no concern from a food safety perspective.

In conclusion, the Minister said that the investigation will continue to conclusively establish the source of the equine DNA. The focus of the investigation is now to establish a common ingredient used in the manufacture of burgers in all three plants and from where it was sourced.

Date Released: 18 January 2013