McAdam Food Service, the Irish meat importer that ABP Foods claimed supplied it with horse meat-contaminated beef, has downplayed the possibility it is involved in the scandal.

It emerged last month that various retailers in the UK and Ireland were selling frozen beef burgers that contained horse meat, including Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and the Co-operative. One of the suppliers at the centre of the scandal is ABP-owned Silvercrest.

The Irish authorities have said the horse meat originated from a supplier in Poland. A spokesperson for ABP told just-food this morning (6 February) that Silvercrest had purchased the Polish meat from Irish importer McAdam.

According to ABP, it purchased 170 tonnes of beef from McAdam in 2012, out of a total 180,000 tonnes of beef processed at the facility in the year.

"Silvercrest purchased Polish beef products from McAdams Food Service. It appears now that, while Silvercrest purchased these beef products in good faith, horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products," the company said.

However, McAdam has disputed ABP's claims. Specifically, McAdam said the suggestion that it supplied 170 tonnes of beef in 2012 was "totally incorrect".

"McAdam Foods have checked their invoices to Silvercrest Foods and this shows that they supplied Silvercrest with 110 tonnes of Irish pork, leaving only 60 tonnes of imported frozen Polish beef being delivered. Therefore ABP have totally overstated the volumes traded," the company said in a statement.

The meat importer also suggested the delivery dates and detection of horse DNA did not tally. "It is our understanding that the policy and practice of the ABP Silvercrest plant is to use supplied products within three days. The last delivery by McAdam Foods to Silvercrest was 13/11/12. The presence of equine DNA was identified at ABP in January," the firm countered.

McAdam Foods added that ABP Silvercrest would have been "entirely aware" of the origin of product supplied.

"McAdam Foods has had no awareness or knowledge whatsoever of any possibility of there being equine content in meat products imported and supplied by McAdam to any other company," the group insisted.