Dalepak said current investigations are centred on beef products which originated from two suppliers

Dalepak said current investigations are centred on beef products which originated from two suppliers

ABP-owned Dalepak has said it is "shocked" and "at a loss" to explain why tests have revealed 29% equine DNA in beef mince it supplied to Asda.

In a statement published on its site over the weekend, Dalepak said that one test, as part of investigations by UK retailer Asda on beef products, found the mince contained 29% horse DNA.

ABP CEO Paul Finnerty had reportedly told last week's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) select committee that Dalepak had been given the all clear on any horsemeat contamination in its products.

In its statement at the weekend, Dalepak said current investigations are centred on beef products which originated from two suppliers, and that it has now dispatched auditors to those sites to conduct "unannounced spot checks". It did not reveal details of the sites in question.

"We are conducting our own DNA tests on a wide number of samples and expect the results in the coming days," it said. "While extensive and thorough safety checks are conducted on all meat products, the industry does not routinely DNA test meat products. As a result of this incident we are implementing a new testing regime for meat products which will include DNA analysis."

Should the testing prove positive, Dalepak said it is considering its options in respect of the two suppliers concerned.

"It is vital that the integrity of the supply chain is assured and we are committed to restoring consumer confidence. We take this matter extremely seriously and apologise for the understandable concern this issue has caused."

Asda had withdrawn the lean beef mince from sale on 16 January as a precaution.

The horsemeat scandal, which began in mid-January, when frozen beef burgers on sale at a number of retailers in the UK and Ireland were found to contain horse DNA, resulted in retailers pulling products from suppliers linked to the scandal from the shelves. Dalepak and APB Food's Silvercrest site were implicated and were delisted by Tesco, Aldi and the Co-op.

Asda did not return a request for comment.