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All-clear fails to save millions of doomed burgers

CONFIRMATION that the latest batch of beef burgers tested for horsemeat were free of equine DNA will not deter plans for the destruction of 10 million burgers.

The tests were carried out on beef burgers made by Liffey Meats between January 11 and 16.

Further test results in relation to identifying the source of equine DNA in the Silvercrest processing facility in Co Monaghan are due in coming days.

In the meantime plans are being put in place for the destruction of 10 million burgers that were taken off supermarket shelves.

ABP Food Group, which owns Silvercrest, has confirmed the burgers will be destroyed, although it is understood no decision has been taken yet as to how and when -- or who will foot the bill. More tests will be needed at Silvercrest, the Department of Agriculture said.

The preliminary results for Silvercrest last week showed nine out of 13 burgers still tested positive for traces of horse DNA. The additional tests were ordered at two companies, Liffey Meats and Silvercrest, which had supplied the burgers.

Results

More test results are expected this week from the department, while ABP Food Group, which owns Silvercrest, has also carried out its own DNA tests in addition to suspending production in Co Monaghan.

A Silvercrest spokesman said the company would not be commenting ahead of the test results. Officials have stressed there was no risk to health from the burgers.

hnews@herald.ie