UK frozen food firm Birds Eye has identified Irish meat processor QK Meats as the source of horsemeat in three products it withdrew last month.

In a statement today (5 March), Birds Eye said its investigations established that Dutch firm Frigilunch, that supplied the products, was itself supplied with horsemeat from County Kildare-based QK Meats. This, Birds Eye said, was one isolated source and that the company has since been suspended as a supplier of meat to the company.

All other meat suppliers to Frigilunch have been given the all clear through both Birds Eye’s and Frigilunch separate testing programmes, it said.

“You can rest assured that all other suppliers to Birds Eye have also been given the all clear,” the company said in a statement.

In late February, Birds Eye pulled three beef ready meals from supermarkets in the UK and Ireland as a precaution after a product it sells in Belgium tested positive for horse DNA.

The recalls followed a positive test for a chilli con carne sold and produced in Belgium by Frigilunch.

Birds Eye said it has now introduced a “triple lock” DNA testing programme that will ensure no minced beef meat product can reach supermarket shelves without first having been cleared by three stages of DNA testing.

“We are now demanding, and have agreed with all suppliers, that they DNA test all products entering their premises. They will then DNA test products leaving their premises. Birds Eye will then conduct its own DNA tests before products go to shops. We believe this triple lock DNA testing process is the leading way to do this in our industry.”

QK Meats did not return a request for comment at the time of going to press.