LATEST STATEMENTS as of 15th of February, 2013
Compass statement - February 15th, 2013
It was recently reported that Rangeland Foods had discovered horse DNA in a raw ingredient labelled as beef at its manufacturing facility in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. Rangeland Foods publicly stated that this ingredient had not entered the food chain.
Subsequently, one of our nominated suppliers in Ireland quickly informed us that it had supplied one burger product from Rangeland Foods to a small number of sites in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where we provide catering. This product was not supplied to any mainland UK sites.
Despite receiving written assurances from Rangeland Foods that none of the identified horse DNA had entered its production, we immediately took the precautionary measure of withdrawing this product and we stopped any further purchases. We subsequently carried out a DNA test on a sample of the withdrawn product, which identified a minor amount of horse DNA.
This is totally unacceptable. We have informed all of the affected sites of these developments, explained the actions we have taken and issued unreserved apologies.
We are deeply concerned by this finding and that, despite the written assurances we and our supplier received, we have had this breach of our supply chain. We are working with the Food Standards Agency and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland to establish the details of what happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The traceability and quality of our food is our top priority. All of our nominated suppliers have to adhere to strict food quality and safety standards and they regularly undergo independent audits to ensure these standards are upheld. In light of recent events, we have also sought, and received, re-confirmation from all of our current nominated UK & Ireland meat suppliers that they comply with our required traceability, testing and hygiene processes.
In addition, we are undertaking a DNA testing programme across our processed meat products to ensure that the integrity of the products we provide is maintained.
Whitbread statement - February 15th, 2013:
At Whitbread we take the quality and standards of our food extremely seriously and although we have continued to receive assurances from our suppliers about the meat content of our products, in line with the Food Standards Agency guidance we have carried out independent tests on meat products.
We sent 30 products to be tested and received the results of these tests yesterday afternoon (on Thursday 14th February). Two of these products tested positively for equine DNA and we immediately removed them from our menus. The two affected products were a meat lasagne and a beef burger supplied by Brakes Brothers and Paragon respectively. They will not be replaced until further testing has been undertaken and we are fully reassured of the integrity of our products.
We are shocked and disappointed at this failure of the processed meat supply chain. As an industry it is clear we need the supply chain to deliver products to the highest standards of food integrity and quality that we and our customers expect.
As a responsible business we shall work with the FSA to implement a robust testing regime to avoid this happening in the future.
We would like to sincerely apologise to our customers for any concerns or inconvenience that this may cause.
British Hospitality Association statement - February 15th, 2013.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has confirmed that its leading members are testing their minced beef products.
The testing was agreed in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Owen Paterson MP, Environment Secretary.
John Dyson, Food Adviser at the BHA has been working closely with the FSA and DEFRA on this issue and said:
“The hospitality industry buys fresh food, which is already subject to strict legislation. For our members, the origin and traceability of food is vital and many of our members pride themselves on a deep knowledge of their local suppliers. However, we also acknowledge that many members also buy processed products made specifically for the catering industry and it’s these types of products that are subject to the meat testing.
“We acknowledge that the hospitality and catering industry must learn lessons along with the rest of the food industry and that the system for frozen and processed foods must be rigorous. Our united aim is to maintain confidence at every level so that businesses have confidence in the food they are preparing and cooking and customers have confidence in what they are eating.”
Hospitality companies and contract catering organisations took immediate action after the first incident of horse meat contamination was reported in mid-January and removed potentially contaminated products from menus. A review of supply chain controls together with the setting up of a programme of official testing for the presence of horsemeat in minced beef products has been underway since then. Individual businesses are required to report any positive contamination results over 1% directly to the FSA.
A number of the largest businesses including: Mitchells and Butler, Sodexo, Elior, Accor, WSH Holdings who operate Baxter Storey, Holroyd Howe, Caterlink and Benugo cafes have agreed to provide their testing results to the FSA.
Creative Foods & Brakes Statement - 15 February 2013
Brakes and Creative Foods can confirm that they are very disappointed to report that a lasagne product produced for one of their customers has been found to contain equine DNA.
At the beginning of the horsemeat scandal, Creative Foods undertook a DNA test of the raw material frozen beef mince, supplied to it by Pinnacle Foods. This test through an accredited independent laboratory proved negative for equine DNA.
We were therefore disturbed to find that a product we supplied using frozen beef mince from Pinnacle Foods has been found to contain equine DNA.
The affected batch was different to the batch that we tested and was produced earlier in the year. An urgent investigation has been launched, but as a precaution, Creative Foods has blocked from sale a number of other lines that used meat from Pinnacle Foods and has stopped using the company as a beef raw ingredient supplier.
The Food Standards Agency has been informed of this finding by our customer.
We are very disappointed that we have been badly let down by one of our suppliers. Needless to say we have stopped using them with immediate effect. This should not have happened and we have apologised wholeheartedly to any customers that have been affected. Like so many in the food industry we have been the victim of an apparent fraud and we are determined to work with others in the industry to ensure that this is stamped out.
Brakes is also recalling a Brakes brand lasagne product as a precaution following the positive test using meat supplied by Pinnacle Foods.
Further DNA testing on all Brakes branded products containing beef is also underway and to date we have received 71 negative results.
We are committed to test comprehensively all products that might potentially be affected. We anticipate that the results of the extensive testing regime that we have commenced will be available by the end of next week when we hope to be able to confirm that all of the results are negative. In the meantime we will also provide further updates where appropriate.
We will continue to follow the Food Standard Agency guidelines and work alongside the whole food industry to help investigate and resolve this issue.