‘No redundancies planned’ says ABP

IN the wake of the decision by Tesco to cease using burger product from meat processing plant Silvercrest foods, the ABP group have told the paper there are “no plans for redundancies”.

IN the wake of the decision by Tesco to cease using burger product from meat processing plant Silvercrest foods, the ABP group have told the paper there are “no plans for redundancies”.

In statement the company said: “No decision has been made on timing of a re-opening. There are no plans for redundancies, normal conditions of employment remain in place and staff continue to be paid.”

The beef processing group have also welcomed the news that Tesco will continue using other ABP plants in Ireland.

The Larry Goodman owned ABP group have said that they have learned valuable lessons from the incident, which made global headlines in January.

When Burger King decided to jettison a w30 million contract with Silvercrest, an ABP company based in Monaghan, there were fears that more big contracts would follow.

Those fears were confirmed on Wednesday of last week when Tesco announced that they would also be ceasing a multi-million euro contract with the troubled plant.

This week group technical director Tim Smith told MPs in the UK that: “The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them.

“Nor was the meat from the UK or Ireland, despite our instruction that only beef from the UK and Ireland should be used in our frozen beef burgers. Consequently we have decided not to take products from that supplier in future. We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great.”

Production at the Silvercrest plant has been suspended since it was identified as the main source of contamination in further tests by the Irish Department of Agriculture, after the Food Standards Authority of Ireland initially identified it in a survey of meat products.

The ABP group had released a statement on their website in reaction to Tesco withdrawl.

“We in ABP Food Group acknowledge the Tesco Statement of this morning. We understand their decision to stop sourcing from Silvercrest Foods but also welcome their decision to continue sourcing fresh beef from other ABP companies.

“The ABP Food Group has developed a very strong business - based on trust. We have let our customers down in this incident and we apologise for this.”

Paul Finnerty, ABP Food Group CEO said : “We have learnt important lessons from this incident and we are determined to ensure that this will never happens again”.

ABP also refer to management at Silvercrest that were let go as a result of the debacle.

“We have already implemented total management change at the Silvercrest facility – which remains closed. We also have effected a Group Re-organisation to better manage our convenience foods business. We have put in place new procedures to audit all our third party suppliers. We have also established comprehensive DNA testing procedures – we will become an industry leader in this area.”

Tesco say they remain committed to the Irish food and drink industry and will continue to be the largest buyer of Irish food in the world.

Authorities are sure that “filler product” found in contaminated burgers sold in supermarkets came from Poland and was a mixture of beef and horse offcuts.

A Co-operative spokeswoman said: “Our decision to withdraw these products at the first opportunity and cease taking further product from this site has proven to be the correct course of action.”