Irish meat trader McAdam Food Products has filed a lawsuit against processor ABP Food Group for alleged defamation at the time of the horsemeat scandal.

The owner of the Irish meat firm, Martin McAdam, has launched legal action against AB for defamation and loss of business, ABP confirmed today (19 August).

It is understood McAdam claims ABP made “false and malicious” allegations about him and his company, according to the BBC.

ABP was notified of the proceedings on 13 August, it said. However, it claimed the documents it had received do not contain specific information on the details of the proceedings. The company is awaiting this information from McAdam, a spokesperson for ABP said.

“ABP does not believe that there is any basis for the claim or that it has damaged Mr McAdam’s reputation or the reputation of McAdam Food Products. ABP has every intention of fighting this spurious claim and is continuing to investigate its legal options against McAdam Food Products and other parties who are found to have supplied beef contaminated by horsemeat,” the spokesperson said. “It is not appropriate for ABP to comment further in the circumstances.”

In the early weeks of the horsemeat scandal, it emerged retailers in the UK and Ireland were selling frozen beef burgers that contained horse meat. One of the suppliers at the centre of the scandal was Silvercrest, owned at the time by ABP. It has since been sold to Irish-based Kepak Group.

In February, McAdam downplayed the possibility it was involved in the scandal. The company says that central to its case is a press release issued by ABP in February, which stated Silvercrest had purchased beef products from McAdam – about 170 tonnes out of total beef purchases in 2012 of 18,000 tonnes – in good faith, but that horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products.

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,” ABP said in February.

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