Burger King is cutting ties with a supplier under investigation for selling beef products potentially tainted with horse meat.
The chain said it would no longer use products from ABP Food Group’s Irish subsidiary, Silvercrest, to supply its locations in Britain and Ireland. This past weekend, the fast food giant replaced all Silvercrest meat with deliveries from another supplier as a “voluntary and precautionary measure,” it said.
Burger King, which is based in Miami, said it launched an independent and ongoing probe upon learning that Irish regulators had discovered equine DNA in meat from Silvercrest’s facilities.
As a result, some Burger King menu items are “temporarily unavailable,” the chain said, apologizing to its patrons for the inconvenience.
“We are working diligently to identify suppliers that can produce 100% pure Irish and British beef products that meet our high quality standards,” the company said in a statement.
The potential presence of horse meat in beef “is not a food safety issue,” the company said, citing the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
“Food quality and safety are a top priority for Burger King restaurants globally,” the company said. “We have stringent and overlapping controls to ensure that the products we sell our customers meet our strict quality standards.”
On the chain's Facebook profile, customers were furious.
"May I have my money back," wrote user Stephanie Victoria Prior. "I remember paying for a BEEF burger, not a HORSE burger!!!"
Several other major food retailers reportedly bought meat from Silvercrest.
Last week, supermarket behemoth Tesco apologized to customers after learning that some of its beef products may have been contaminated with horse meat. The chain said it withdrew the items from sale and offered a full refund.
Around the same time, Silvercrest also apologized in a statement for “the understandable concern this issue has caused.”