A SUPERMARKET chain has suspended its contract with a North Yorkshire manufacturer implicated in the horse meat scandal – prompting speculation over possible job losses.
Supermarket chain Aldi has announced it has suspended its contract with Dalepak Hambleton, saying it feels “deeply angry” and “let down” by its supplier.
The Dalepak plant in Leeming Bar, near Northallerton, was singled out alongside two plants in Ireland after traces of horse meat were found in burgers tested by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
An ongoing inquiry has so far indicated the horse meat originated from a consignment of “raw material” from Poland.
Aldi said it had conducted its own DNA testing of products made at the North Yorkshire plant and found traces of horse meat.
It tested three random samples of each Aldi beefburger product. One of each of the samples tested as containing 0.1 per cent non-beef.
Its Oakhurst Beef Quarter Pounders contained 0.1 per cent pork and 0.1 per cent equine.
The other two positive samples contained 0.1 per cent pork. The company said that while the traces were at the lowest forensically detectable level, it said it confirmed its decision to remove the products from sale. Now it has gone one step further and suspended its contract with Aldi.
It stated: “Aldi UK has suspended its contract with Dalepak to supply beefburgers and is conducting further investigations at the factory. In tandem, Aldi Ireland has terminated its contract with Silvercrest due to the breach of its contract in supplying beefburgers.”
A spokeswoman for ABP, the owner of Dalepak, said it is not yet commenting on Aldi UK’s statement.
The company has already announced it has put new procedures in place to audit all third party suppliers and has established comprehensive DNA testing procedures, saying it will become an industry-leader in the field.
One of Dalepak’s other consumers, Iceland Foods, says it will not be terminating its contract with the plant, explaining: “We have found nothing to suggest that our supplier deliberately used non-approved ingredients in any Iceland products.
“All the evidence suggests that the Iceland products contained trace elements of equine and porcine DNA as the result of cross-contamination from other products made in the same factory.
“None of our tests provide any indication that other Iceland products, or other batches of Iceland Quarter Pounders, were affected.
"All Iceland burgers will in future be checked for the DNA of other species and will only be cleared for sale when we have received a negative test result.”