Horsemeat: Horse DNA found at Polish meat storage facilities

Traces of horsemeat have been found at three meat facilities in Poland, according to a report from Reuters.

Polish authorities have consistently denied that raw material exports from the country were responsible for the contamination of beef burgers and ready meals in the UK, Ireland and Germany, but the General Veterinary Inspectorate reportedly announced last night that three samples taken from meat storage facilities had tested positive for horse DNA.

A total of 121 samples were taken from meat businesses across the country, with a further 80 samples due to be examined.

Previous tests at Polish abattoirs have returned negative results for horse DNA and Polish authorities have repeatedly dimissed allegations made by Irish authorities against Polish meat companies as “unjustified”.

Speaking earlier this month, Polish Undersecretary of State. Deputy Minister Gurbiel, said: “Veterinary inspection, after conducting numerous tests, has not detected cases of falsifying beef with horsemeat”.

Ireland’s agriculture ministry announced at the end of January that it had traced the source of horse meat contamination at Silvercrest, one of the Irish meat plants found to be supplying beef products contaminated with horsemeat, to a batch of ‘meat filler’ imported from Poland.

Irish burger processor Rangeland foods later claimed that a consigment of meat found to contain 75% horsemeat had been supplied by Polish companies, while UK meat trade McAdam said that the consigment of meat stored at Freeza Meats found to contain 80% horsemeat had come from Poland.

German suppliers, Dreistern-Konserven and Vossko, whose products were found to contain horsemeat, also claimed they had sourced the meat from Poland.

Poland’s chief veterinary officer wrote to Irish food safety authorities earlier this month, asking for evidence on the link made between the contaminated beef products and Polish suppliers. Dr Janusz Zwiazek requested the samples taken by the Food Standards Authority of Ireland to be retested in the presence of Polish veterinary services and the Polish suppliers.