• Fri, Feb 1 2013

If You Ate At Burger King In The UK Recently, You May Have Eaten Horse Meat

burger king horse meat

Ready to swear off fast food for the rest of your life? Burger King admitted yesterday that meat that some of their burgers were probably contaminated with horse meat. Silvercrest, one of their meat suppliers in Ireland apparently used pork, horse meat, and meat from Poland slip into their ground beef, which likely made its way into Burger King menu items throughout the UK. In reality, eating the wrong animal is probably one of the lesser dangers of fast food (food-borne illness is a far scarier prospect), but still: There are over 500 UK locations that could have been serving horse meat, which is enough to cause plenty of stomachs to turn.

Burger King’s admission is just the latest development in a scandal in the U.K. and Ireland over beef patties from Silvercrest, where pig and horse meat was used as a filler in cheap beef. BK has been denying that they served anything other than 100% beef to customers, but finally admitted the possibility that customers may have consumed animals other than cow. This is their statement:

Our independent DNA test results on product taken from restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100% British and Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.

It’s not exactly like Burger King was caught red-handed in the act of intentionally doling out horse meat to customers. But when you serve the cheapest of the cheap beef, you’re not exactly sourcing it from local suppliers known for good quality meat and low risk of contamination.

Burger King’s Vice President, Diego Beamonte, also released a statement yesterday, explaining the company’s commitment to doing better in the future:

We are deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation and apologise to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100per cent beef burgers. Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again. We will dedicate ourselves to determining what lessons can be learned and what additional measures, including DNA testing and enhanced trace-ability controls, can be taken to ensure that we continue to provide you with the quality products you expect from us.

Ultimately, Silvercrest is really at fault for the mystery meat, but it’s also up to Burger King to source their food from reliable companies. Likewise, it’s up to consumers to source their meals from reliable restaurants and grocery stores. We’d say this should make you think twice about picking up that combo meal.

Photo: Getty Images

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  • Mila

    Why is this story such a big deal? Is it that important which dead animal you are eating?

    • http://blisstree.com/ Carrie Murphy

      I can only speak for myself, but when I go into a restaurant and order food, I expect it to be exactly as it’s advertised. Aka if I order beef I expect beef—not HORSE.

    • Mila

      I completely understand & support that – I do, too – but here the scandal seems to be about horse meat, no headlines mention pig meat being also used instead of beef, nor does anyone seem to be upset over that fact.