Burger King has more than 500 outlets and sells around one million burgers a week in the United Kingdom. The restaurant chain had earlier given a series of ‘absolute assurances’ that horse meat was not in their products.
The burgers containing horse meat were made by the Irish-based processing company, Silvercrest, which is part the ABP Foods Group.
Silvercrest has been using a series of non-approved ingredients in their burgers for a range of household name brands.
These included meat off-cuts, including horse, that were imported in large frozen blocks from Poland.
Using horse meat in burgers is known to have been going on since at least last May and could have going on for an entire year according to evidence presented earlier this week.
Burger King finally abandoned its earlier denials, saying:
"Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100 per cent British & Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them."
Burger King's vice president, Diego Beamonte, said:
"We are deeply troubled by the findings of our investigation and apologize to our guests, who trust us to source only the highest quality 100 per cent beef burgers. Our supplier has failed us and in turn we have failed you. We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again."
The company withdrew all of its frozen burgers from UK stores when the scandal first erupted two weeks ago as a precaution.
There is nothing illegal about using horse meat in burgers as long as it is stated to the public that it is horse meat and not beef. Also, officials want the public to know there is no health risk involved in consumers eating burgers containing horse meat.
The US doesn't seem to be involved in this, but at first the UK said they weren't either.