Burger King’s horsemeat scandal in Europe has culminated in the chain admitting that trace amounts of DNA from horses were definitively found in the meat they had served.
The Burger King horsemeat allegations were part of a larger examination into the purity of meat in the UK and Ireland, and Tesco’s products were also implicated in the probe.
British paper The Guardian reports that “very small trace levels” of horse DNA were admitted to have been found in products the chain sold, and that Burger King addressed the findings in a statement today.
In the release, Burger King acknowledges the horsemeat findings but explains that a supplier in Poland had tainted the meat in violation of existing agreements. The statement begins:
“Our independent DNA test 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.”
“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% British and Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.”
Vice-president for global quality at Burger King Diego Beamonte added that the chain was “deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation,” and said the brand “apologizes to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100% beef burgers.” Beamonte added, “our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you.”
Importing horsemeat for human consumption is legal in the United Kingdom, but levels of demand are very low, and only around 30 tons are imported for food sales each year.