Poland-based meat supplier Food Service denies that it's source of horse meat contamination in Irish beef burgers; company named by British media as firm that authorities believe supplied contaminated products

, February 4, 2013 () – A POLISH meat supplier has vehemently denied it is the source of horsemeat contamination in Irish beefburgers. Food Service, one of Poland's largest meat processors, was named in the British media yesterday as the firm that authorities believe had supplied the product that resulted in one burger testing positive for 29% horsemeat.

The firm confirmed it had been supplying meat to Irish firm Silvercrest for two years but stressed that it did not handle horsemeat.

Company owner Marke Czerniej said that as well as supplying Silvercrest, it also continued to supply half a dozen companies in the UK.

Mr Czerniej said: 'We have never bought or handled horsemeat, we couldn't have been the source of contamination.

[Our] beef is subject to rigorous procedures and identification.' Mr Czerniej was backed up by the deputy head of Poland's general veterinary inspectorate, who said its tests had proved negative, and laid the blame on Ireland or England.

Jaroslaw Naza said: 'Everything we have done suggests to us that the source of the contamination was not in Poland. How has this happened?' Mr Naza suggested that the Irish authorities were looking closely at the possibility that labels and documents had been changed.

A spokesman for the ABP Food Group, which owns Silvercrest, declined to comment.

However, the Department of Agriculture insisted yesterday that the source was Polish.

Separately, a meat supplier's contract to prisons in the UK has been suspended after traces of pork were found in halal meat products supplied to Islamic prisoners. The discovery was made after the British ministry of justice commissioned tests.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland says it has not carried out tests on halal products and has no plans to do so.

The Department of Agriculture said it was a matter for UK authorities.

(c) 2013 Associated Newspapers Company

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