Asda clears shelves of value burgers as horsemeat scandal knocks £300m off Tesco market value

Suppliers in continental Europe are suspected of being the source of horsemeat found in beef products, a processing firm has claimed

Nearly £300m worth of market value has been knocked off the value of Tesco following reports that a number of its burgers were found to contain horsemeat.

Tesco, along with rivals Lidl and Aldi were found to be selling burgers that contained horse DNA.

Both Asda and Tesco have now cleared products off their shelves as the Food Standards Agency launched an investigation.

In one Tesco product, 29 per cent of the 'beef' content was actually horsemeat.

It emerged today that suppliers in continental Europe are suspected of being the source of the horsemeat, a processing firm has claimed.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found low levels of horse in beef products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores.

Burger products which tested positive for horse DNA were produced by Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and one UK plant, Dalepak Hambleton.

Silvercrest, a subsidiary of ABP Foods, said it was pulling products from sale and replacing them with new lines.

"Following tests carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, we have been alerted to frozen beefburgers which contain porcine and equine DNA," said a spokesman.

"Although the products pose no risk to public health, Silvercrest has taken immediate action to isolate, withdraw and replace all suspect product.

"Silvercrest has never purchased or traded in equine product and has launched a full-scale investigation into two continental European third party suppliers who are the suspected source of the product in question."

The bad publicity has pushed Tesco 3.6p lower to 346p, a 1 per cent fall in a FTSE 100 which is down just 0.5 per cent - a fall that comes at a difficult time for the company, which has lost market share against rivals.

Whilst the consequences for Tesco and other supermarkets may be difficult authorities have repeated that there's no threat to public health.

Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the FSAI, said there was no health risk but also no reasonable explanation for horse meat to be found.

"Whilst there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process," Prof Reilly said.

"In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and therefore we do not expect to find it in a burger."

The retailers have told food safety chiefs they are removing all implicated products from their shelves.

The Prime Minister said today that the discovery of horsemeat in supermarket beefburgers was "extremely disturbing" and "completely unacceptable".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron said there needed to be a full investigation and the Food Standards Agency was looking into the situation.

Mr Cameron said: "It is a very important issue and it is an extremely serious issue. People in our country would have been very concerned to read this morning that when they thought they were buying beefburgers they were buying something that had horse meat.

"It is extremely disturbing news. I have asked the Food Standards Agency to conduct an urgent investigation into this.

"They have made clear there is no risk to public safety because there is no food safety risk but this is a completely unacceptable state of affairs.

"They will be meeting retailers and processors this afternoon, they will be working with them to investigate the supply chain, but it is worth making the point that retailers have to be responsible for what they sell and where it has come from."

Asda said today: "We take matters like this extremely seriously, despite the fact that we aren’t implicated in this report.

"As soon as we were made aware of the issue we launched a full traceability audit with our supplier. This is still underway. 

In the meantime as a precaution we have withdrawn a number of frozen burger products from sale."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border